The underlying assumption about buying local—that cutting the final transportation distance of a food item will necessarily reduce the carbon emissions associated with its consumption—may very well be flawed. According to Stephen J. Dubner, author of the bestseller "Freakanomics," preliminary research into the matter has failed to show a correlation between a local diet and a low-carbon diet.
June 10, 2008
The public relations war waged by groups like Wal-Mart Watch and Wake Up Wal-Mart on the country's largest employer—and for a long time, biggest corporate villain—appears to be entering détente. Nearly half of the staffers at the two organizations have been let go, and Wal-Mart has in turn, scaled back its public relations efforts—which were ramped up several years ago to engender good will in the face of heavy criticism.
May 8, 2008
The New York Times reports today that despite the relatively relaxed pace at which the price of organic food has risen in comparison to other produce and processed food in the past few months, organics are about to see dramatic price increases across the board. With the cost of organic feeds for meat and dairy, and the decreased incentive for farmers to go organic due to higher prices for non-organic foods, there's a good chance that the cost of many of your favorite organics will go up by as much as 20 percent in the very near future.
April 18, 2008
With food prices rising across the board due to higher fuel costs and a spike in the commodities markets, you might think that the organics boom would be the first suffer — especially in the midst of a recession. The logic goes that since wallets are tightening across the country, consumers will turn to cheaper meat and produce, eschewing concerns about pesticides, growth hormones and sustainability issues. But could the long term benefits of a changing food economy actually outweigh the negatives?
April 3, 2008
One of the most sensible proposals for neutralizing the confusion that greenwashing has brought to green shopping, is a labeling system that would allow consumers to actually compare products in the same way that dieters might compare fat and calorie contents. It's highly unlikely that such a system will be implemented at the federal level in the United States, but some businesses have been experimenting with voluntary carbon labeling systems that could one day become the standard by which we measure the footprints of the products we buy.
March 13, 2008