19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Still unsure what to make of this book,
This review is from: Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (Paperback)
I love reading books about food policy and politics so when I saw that Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly was being released I was very intrigued. The premise of the book is that Locavores often don't have the whole picture when trying to eat ethically and the book is designed to point out where they go wrong. While this might seem controversial to some, I was genuinely excited because I try very hard to make responsible food choices and wanted to know if there was something I was missing. Unfortunately, this book did not really live up to my expectations and while I liked some aspects of it, there were many more I had a problem with. The bottom line is I found this book more confusing than enlightening (not because I am not an intelligent person, but because of the way the information was presented) and think there are other books that do a better job of taking a holistic look at responsible food choices.
The book covers points like whether food miles are really the most important metric to think about when eating environmentally, the value of organic, genetically modified crops, the meat and seafood industries, and the economic side of food production (especially government subsidies)so it tries to take a pretty comprehensive view of the food industry. I say try because I think one of the weaknesses of this book is that it bit off more than it can chew. I agree 100% with the author that it's complicated and that making responsible choices can not be boiled down to JUST food miles. However, the problem is when you try to capture everything in one book there just isn't enough space to cover enough raw facts to make a covincing argument and you often raise more questions than you do provide answers. I admire the author for trying to be comprehensive, but I think there is a reason why so few books are - the food system, especially once you talk about it from a global scale, is incredibly complicated and holds no easy answers for the future. I found it amusing because one of the points the author makes is that Locavores tend to oversimplify things, but I honestly think part of the problem is that it is just SO complicated and that there is no one answer so people tend to do the best they can and make choices that fit their lifestyle.
I also didn't necessarily find the take in this book to be incredibly fresh or new. I think theThe Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter already does a great job of looking at ethical food choices from a comprehensive perspecive (looking not just at environmental impacts, but also nutrition, principles, community, animal welfare, etc.).
I also didn't care for the slight digs at locavores the author chooses to make in the book. They came across as a little petty and in my opinion wasted words that could have been used to better make the author's case. I think we all agree there are environmental hypocrites, but why waste time pointing it out when the audience for this book is likely someone who genuinely cares and rejects simplistic views anyway?
What I did like about this book was that it really caused me to pause and think about my beliefs and realize areas where I may need to solicit more information to make informed choices. I definitely didn't walk away from reading this book like I had all the answers so if this bothers you, you may not enjoy this book.
Overall I just wasn't a fan of this book. I can respect what the author was trying to do, but after reading through it and sifting through it again while writing this review, I'm not sure his intent was fully realized.