Personally, I guess it depends on where "local" is and what "organic" means. I always choose to eat locally first because I feel that a strong local economy is more sustainable
and beneficial to Gross National Happiness. You do have a point about the gasoline consumption, but I do believe locally delivered food uses slightly less than nationally delivered food. Plus, with the benefits of having a local network, there are options for vendors to share vehicles to brig their food to the markets, restaurants, or grocery store. It could be a sort of delivery co-op.
Then there is the idea of organic. My concern is not so much gasoline, though that article I can't remember the name of said usage was slightly higher for national delivery. No, my biggest concern is packaging. Packaging equals a greater cosumption of resources, increased energy
usage to make the packaging materials and deliver them, more plastic in the world, and more garbage. I haven't heard Le Petit claim to be organic (have they?), yet, because they don't have to worry about their bread needing a high shelf life so that it can make it through thousands of miles of delivery, they are free to use a wax paper bag to hold their bread. And it tastes fresher because it is. Mmm. In my opinion, you can't put chemical free food into a plastic container that is off-gassing for several thousand miles and will continue off-gassing for billions of years (when the sun explodes) and still call it organic.
Well, you could buy organic produce and bulk items with your own containers. Works well. However, large companies have skewed and simplified the meaning of organic. These days it usually just means mono-cultures that aren't sprayed with pesticides. (I can't imagine that people in Southern California could grow chemical free food if they wanted to, considering the amount of air pollution alone. That's just my personal opinion though. No scientific studies as far as I know.) The current definition of organic is not really an effort to encourage responsible growers, this is exclusively about making money. Of course
, I'm glad these large farms that were already in place are not spraying so many chemicals anymore. I will buy an organic tomato
at the grocery store over non-organic if they have been delivered from about the same distance, but the insincere representation bothers me and I feel that the name organic lost it's meaning several years ago. The only real way to know what you're getting is to know your grower or meat supplier and the best way to do that is to buy local.
All of this sounds like I'm being self-righteous and would never touch a non-local and organic meal! Nope. Although I've made a lot of headway in cutting down on packaging, especially plastics, yesterday I bought a carton of yogurt and a carton of "organic" soymilk that probably contributed to clear cutting of the Amazon forest. Still, I would like to get to the point where I can have those all local/organic meals on a regular basis. I just prefer to have local first because local often strives to be organic here in Missoula and mostly because I feel more connected to my community and to the food I'm eating. Studies have shown that when your mind feels more connected to your food, your body actually absorbs more nutrition! Talk about an incentive for eating responsibly.