Think Global, Eat Local

Wired News presents a good overview piece about the “locavore” phenomenon—well-meaning folks doing their best to eat food produced within an arbitrary (generally less than 500 miles) distance of their homes.

Beyond being a royal pain in the ass (unsweetened, too—unless you happen to live in Hawaii, sugar is one of the staples you’ll be wrestling to replace), eating locally offers a number of benefits.

1. You discover some—or maybe all—of the obscure edibles lurking in the ecological nooks and crannies of your local food chain. Locavore pioneer Gary Paul Nabhan (author of Coming Home to Eat) (W. W. Norton, 2001) set up a 250-mile radius around his Arizona home and discovered the (alleged) culinary ecstasy of wolfberry salad and rattlesnake fritters.

2. You cut down on the economic and environmental costs associated with shipping your foodstuffs cross-country or internationally. Vanilla from Madagascar? Depending on where you live, that’s something like 14,000 miles of travel.

3. Like the Wired News writer, you can have locally themed potlucks with your friends that foster both awareness and a smug feeling of self-righteousness.

And every step—even the tiniest—that we can take to ensure the survival of smug self-righteousness is a step worth taking.