Don't get him wrong, Stephen Budiansky likes fresh local veggies as much as the next guy, but he's had it up to here with zealous locavores. "The local food movement now threatens to devolve into another one of those self-indulgent—and self-defeating—do-gooder dogmas," he writes in the New York Times. All these sermons about "food miles" and how much it costs to ship lettuce from here to there. Please. They are without "any real scientific basis," he writes.
He spends the better part of his column taking apart equations on "calories of fossil fuel energy"—and wondering why he never hears about the 14,000 such calories burned in a 10-mile round-trip to a farmers' market. "Eating locally grown produce is a fine thing in many ways," he writes. "But it is not an end in itself, nor is it a virtue in itself. The relative pittance of our energy budget that we spend on modern farming is one of the wisest energy investments we can make, when we honestly look at what it returns to our land, our economy, our environment and our well-being."