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Balancing on a PlanetThe Future of Food and Agriculture$
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David A. Cleveland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520277410

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520277410.001.0001

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The Big Solutions

The Big Solutions

Localizing Agrifood Systems

(p.233) Nine The Big Solutions
Balancing on a Planet

David A. Cleveland

University of California Press

Agrifood system globalization is increasing rapidly, driven by industrial world governments and multinational corporations. Globalization increases the distance between inputs and production and between production and consumption, creating food insecurity, malnutrition, and environmental degradation, including global warming. One popular response is the localization movement, often measured as food miles—the distance food travels from “field to fork.” Indicators like food miles are often conflated with goals like reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving nutrition, although they are not necessarily linked, making localization vulnerable to self-deception and local washing. Effective localization would require changes in eaters’ and farmers’ values and behaviors, and community and government regulations. A case study in the United States demonstrates the importance of checking the validity of indicators like food miles.

Keywords:   agrifood system globalization, localization movement, food insecurity, malnutrition, environmental degradation, indicators, food miles, self-deception, local wash

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