Locavore (Review)

May 9, 2010

Book cover for "Locavore" by Sarah Elton.Title: Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens – How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat

Author: Sarah Elton

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 272

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Bought from Chapters.ca

In Locavore, Elton discusses the various ways that Canadians are changing the way we look at food. She starts out the book by recounting an experience she had with a cookie her daughter brought home in a loot bag. The cookie was a pink frosted pig in a plastic wrapper, had a long list of ingredients, and was made in China. According to Elton, that became the starting point for her to find out more about local food production in Canada. Think of it as sort of a Michael Pollan book, but with far more examples and conversations with people, rather than far more detail about fewer experiences.

I really loved this book, particularly the Canadian perspective. It was nice to read about the local and sustainable food movement in my own country, rather than always reading about food production in the United States and having to apply it without local examples. She also really looks more at farms and food production in terms of size and non-meat production, which is different from a lot of the other books written on this topic – such as Pollan, for example, who talks a lot about feedlots and ethical treatment of animals in food production.

Elton also devoted a part of the book to discussing the arguments of academics who disagree that local food is better for the environment, agreeing with them that food miles are not the best way to evaluate environmental cost, but going further to look at whether our current method of crop development is sustainable. This is really the focal point of her book, no matter who or what she is specifically talking about: is our food supply sustainable, and what are some people doing better?

Locavore is the current selection for David Suzuki’s book club, which you can take a look at here. The website includes a reading guide, posters, discussion forum, and guest article by Sarah Elton.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who lives in Canada – or elsewhere – who is interested in the local food movement or in sustainable food production. Elton’s writing is strong and interesting, making her argument clearly and really illustrating her opinions with good examples and proof of how Canadians are changing the way they eat. I really enjoyed Locavore, and am looking forward to putting some of the principles in practice that I hadn’t been doing already.

Rating:

4 Comments

  • Violet May 10, 2010 at 3:28 am

    This sounds really interesting. I’m surprised at where some of the food sold in Australia comes from. Asparagus from Peru? Snow peas from China? Our govt. has just allowed GM canola to be grown, so I guess we are going to have the whole big drama with crop contamination that you had in Canada. We don’t want GM food, but we’re getting it anyway. *sigh*

  • Amy May 10, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Great review. I loved Pollan’s books but this one looks even better. Getting the Canadian perspective on the issue would be really great. I’ll be looking to pick up this one for sure!

  • Chrisbookarama July 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I really enjoyed this one when I recently read and reviewed. I liked how she showed us the perspective of the people who are affected the most by not buying local- the local farmer.

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