Forbes talks with author James McWilliams about his new book challenging the wisdom of the local food movement.
"Forbes: What is wrong and right about locavores striving to fill their diet with local sources of food?
James McWilliams: There are a lot of things right with this. Encouraging us to ask where our food comes from and how it's produced; turning the farmers market into a civic space to bring the community together; trying to preserve agricultural space around cities.
At the same time, in the 21st century, we face a genuine agricultural dilemma, and that is to produce more healthy food on less land with fewer resources. I see the locavore response just as one response, and in the grand scheme of things it's a fairly small response. When we look at how a crop is grown or how a certain food is produced, transportation is really a small amount of energy used to produce that particular food. It's about 10%, according to several studies. What that means is the energy sink is elsewhere, how that particular crop is produced."