Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Freakonomics & Locovores

Two totally trendy mouthfuls of made-up words.

But interesting anyway. A reader writes in, asking if it's more resource-intensive to grow your own food, as is the current uber food snob trend, than to buy food from "experts". The reader first posed this question to Michael Pollan, who said he didn't know and that she should ask the Freakonomics guys.

I knew the answer before I even read it. Of COURSE it's more resource-intensive to grown your own food. The reasons people grow their own food have more to do with emotional benefits than anything else. Oh, sure, I probably do save some money by planting herbs (fresh herbs aren't cheap at the store) but in my case, the opportunity costs are low - Cooper spends 30 minutes planting and I do a little watering every day, but that's not enough time to cost a lot. But for the most part (and yes, I'm going to make a huge generalization here), if you're spending a lot of time growing your own food, you're getting something out of it beyond just the food.

Two other quick points:

- This connects with something I read someplace last week about the relationship between organic farming and world hunger. The post (wish I could remember where) suggested that organic farming is somewhat irresponsible, since it requires more land than non-organic, and that extra land could be used to increase food supply. Interesting.

- The commenters at the Freakonomics post...hilarious. Granted, the Dubner post wasn't perfect. There were some connections that could've been tighter. But the locovore lovers definitely came out to play on this one.

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