UC perspective cycles through Internet blogs

Aug 13, 2008

The cyclical nature of blogs is intriguing. A story in the Freakonomics blog that featured UC Agricultural Issues Center director Dan Sumner’s expertise, and reported on in this ANR news blog entry, takes another turn in the media and technology blog of Alternet.org.

Eating Liberally writer Kerry Trueman asks what the New York Times has against local food and green living in a post focused on the Freakonomics blogger Steve Dubner’s site. Is this getting confusing?

In Dubner's blog, Sumner raised an issue with eating locally. In a nutshell, he explained that it's sometimes actually better for the environment to ship long distances than growing crops in inhospitable environments. An example he offers is the impact of growing lettuce in a greenhouse close to a market, instead of importing the vegetable grown outside in, say, Salinas County, Calif.

"Ah yes, the old greenhouse red herring," Trueman mocks in his post. "Locavores don't advocate buying out-of-season lettuce grown in a greenhouse -- the whole point of being a locavore is that you base your diet as much as possible on what's in season in your region. As for inhospitable environments, is there a horticultural zone anywhere in America where you can't grow lettuce in the spring or fall?"

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist