This looks like a must read book.

Last month I broke down a loopy food policy document that is tied in with Calgary city hall here.

The simple fact that tax dollars are going towards these un-viable, navel-gazing exercises and that our city hall spends time discussing and even implementing the sorts of vapid suggestions that are in that food policy document demonstrates that this “foodie” fad of organics and “local diets” is gaining some steam to a degree. Economic reality will win in the end (it always does), but the question will be how much will be wasted in time and resources on this foolish notions in food provision? How hard will it be to turn back legislation even once it is well proven to be detrimental to us in economics and food safety? Remember people, Calgary has a city hall that feels their task is to literally legally regulate what kind of soup we can legally eat. The capacity of our council of nannies to come up with stupid legislation is infinite.

The book “The Locavore’s Dilemma” appears to look more deeply into the issue of food safety and security while cutting through the simplistic “100 mile” diet proposals and such. The real numbers are presented and as expected the foodie movement is nothing less than a flight of fancy by hipsters and urbanites that would lead to a true food catastrophe if we really did turn the clock back to the methods of farming used 200 years ago.

 Macleans magazine covered the book and the issue itself well here. If you can’t get the book, I do strongly recommend reading the article at least.

If we truly want a safe and secure food supply, we need to look to modern production techniques rather than going backwards. Like the anti-vaccination crowd, the self-styled urban “foodies” would cause nothing less than a catastrophe if they ever got their unreasonable way.

So many people cling to an ideal to the point where they refuse to let themselves see the actual outcome. Milton Friedman said it excellently (as he has with so many things): “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”.

We can’t underestimate how determined some folks get when it comes to food issues and how they want to implement their preferences upon others. There is the old joke: “How can you tell if somebody is a vegetarian? Don’t worry, they will tell you.” We all have met the militant vegetarian types. These people live for their martyrdom in foregoing meat and they not only want to let the world know that they have personally chosen to ignore their natural diet, they want the rest of the world to do the same. The fervor and zeal of these types is striking (though their energy levels are often low due to lack of protein). There are many vegetarians who keep that to themselves of course but that subculture of the militant ones is annoying and surprisingly effective in their lobbying.

If a person wants to live on backyard grown organic peanuts fertilized by their own feces, I say power to them. The second these people start to try to legislate what we may produce or eat though we must stand up and tell them to jam their lentils in a dark place. Is is sad that so many forget how rampant starvation & food poisoning was when it was all organic and local a couple hundred years ago. I am not too eager to go back to those 35 year life expectancies that were the norm back then either.