Author: Hidde Boersma and Maarten Boudry

Local Farming Can’t Save the Planet

“The world is flat,” proclaimed economist Thomas Friedman in his 2005 book of the same title. And since then, the world has flattened further still. Not only has a contagious fragment of RNA ravaged every corner of the world, but so have the economic shockwaves. In a flat world, everything is connected to everything. And if someone somewhere happens to capture and sell the wrong bat, we’re all in trouble. This is one reason we’re witnessing a fresh backlash against globalization, in particular when it comes to the way we produce and transport food. “Spoiled Milk, Rotten Vegetables and a Very Broken Food System: The coronavirus crisis demonstrates what is wrong with how the world feeds itself,” proclaimed a New York Times headline last month. Across much of the world, these concerns tap into pre-pandemic anxieties about our mass-industrial approach to food creation, and longings for smaller, family-run, more sustainable, and humane production closer to our communities. Instead of hauling foodstuffs around the globe, we’re told, we need to appreciate local and seasonal crops again. …