Should a locavore diet involve some sort of sacrifice? After all, most tales of locavorism have a strain of deprivation running through them: no coffee, slim vegetable pickings in the winter, a mandatory weekly slog to the farmers’ market. The New York Times seems to take the view that local food tastes better with a side of ascetism. In the piece “A Locally Grown Diet with Fuss But No Muss” (registration required), writer Kim Severson takes an arch tone while describing such modern innovations as gardeners who will come to your house, install a vegetable garden, and keep it weeded for you; or the FruitGuys, who deliver boxes of local fruit to your workplace or home. She dubs the customers of these businesses “lazy locavores,” and as of 6 p.m. on the night the story came out, there were already close to 190 hits on Google for the term; it seems to have struck a nerve.
But Josh Friedland at the Food Section blog thinks the slightly mocking tone of the piece was unfair. His op-ed “Is Eating Local Earnest or Elitist?” wisely notes that having professionals build and tend a vegetable garden for you isn’t so very different from an already established industry (landscaping and lawn care), which doesn’t usually raise any eyebrows.
Even author Barbara Kingsolver, quoted in Severson’s piece, thinks the lazy locavore is part of the solution, not the problem: “‘As a person of rural origin who has lived much of my life in rural places,’ she said, ‘I can’t tell you how joyful it makes me to hear that it’s trendy for people in Manhattan to own a part of a cow.’”