The Locavore's Dilemma by Desrochers and Shimizu

Read an excerpt

World rights: Public Affairs Books, June 2012
Sweden: Timbro

ABOUT THE AUTHORSPierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu

PIERRE DESROCHERS is an associate professor of geography at the University of Toronto. He is the author of over 40 peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from economic development and globalization to energy and transportation issues and is affiliated with numerous policy research centers. Pierre has always made an effort to reach a broad audience through his over 100 columns and shorter pieces and regular contributions to various media outlets. He maintains a detailed website at His unique strength as one of the most well-known critics of the locavore movement is his knowledge of a broader set of issues than other critics who have attacked only one facet of this movement.

HIROKO SHIMIZU was trained as an economist in one of Japan’s premier universities. She holds a Master’s of Public Policy from University Osaka. She has studied and worked at several academic institutions and private companies in Canada, Japan, China and the United States. She has also travelled worldwide to over 30 countries. Based on her international experiences and observations, she describes her policy approach as “applying global common sense” to politically correct but ultimately mistaken ideas. She has been published in three languages (Japanese, English and French) in both the academic and popular literature.

The Locavore's Dilemma
In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet

by Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu


The Locavore's DilemmaToday’s food activists think that “sustainable farming” and “eating local” are the way to solve a host of perceived problems with our modern food supply system. But after a thorough review of the evidence, Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu have concluded that these claims are mistaken.

In The Locavore’s Dilemma they explain the history, science, and economics of food supply to reveal what locavores miss or misunderstand: the real environmental impacts of agricultural production; the drudgery of subsistence farming; and the essential role large-scale, industrial producers play in making food more available, varied, affordable, and nutritionally rich than ever before in history.

They show how eliminating agriculture subsidies and opening up international trade, not reducing food miles, is the real route to sustainability; and why eating globally, not only locally, is the way to save the planet.



“This often acerbic, thoroughly researched, yet controversial title provides much food for thought on the often oversimplified but ever complex issue of food miles.”  — LIBRARY JOURNAL

The Locavore’s Dilemma is an ideal weapon in countering the enormous quantities of metaphorical organic manure that pass for evidence in the modern debate about food.”  — SPIKE-ONLINE.COM

“[Desrochers and Shimizu] present a counterintuitive but well-supported case that local self-sufficiency is the worst thing you can do for the environment, since it requires many crops to be grown in the wrong places, with damaging ecological consequences. ... [T]hey do get off the occasional zinger. Some growers, they write, ‘now send their worst produce to farmers' markets because customers think that imperfections and blemishes are an indicator of authenticity.’ That amusing observation serves as a useful reminder that, even with the best of intentions, making a cause out of what we eat has a way of coming back to bite us. And likewise that in place of so much earnestness, the ingredient modern food writing could use more of is wit—preferably, the dry kind.”  — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“They argue urbanization has brought prosperity; globalization wields peace and security; ‘food miles’ is a joke; packaged food is safer than handling it at home; and the notion of peak oil (someday running out of fuel with which to haul all that food across the world) is an ‘untenable proposition,’ since we’ll just go back to coal. A provocative take, to be sure, and one that will invite the ire of the 99%.”  — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY



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