I’ve been known on Twitter as @thelocavore, ever since the publication of my first book Locavore in 2010. This week, I metamorphosed into @SarahAElton. (That would be my name, including my middle initial.) Why the name change? Well, identifying with the word locavore has caused a lot of confusion, particularly after the publication of Consumed. While my book Locavore documents the stories, and the rise, of the sustainable food movement in Canada, Consumed looks at the future of food and asks how we humans can feed ourselves in a sustainable way, as we careen towards the year 2050, when the population is expected to reach around 9 billion and climate change will have messed with the pleasant conditions we’ve grown accustomed to.
While local food systems are part of a sustainable answer to the status quo of industrial food, the answer to how to feed the planet in a sustainable way is a lot more complex than all of us going on the 100 mile diet. However, the locavore position is often summed up by proponents of the industrial system as exactly this: eating food only grown within a 100 mile radius. I’ve even heard someone argue that industrial food is the only way to feed the planet because we can’t grow cash crops like wheat in the city. (Uh, who said anything about growing wheat in the city?) So when it comes to the word locavore, there’s a lot of room for misinterpretation.
Thus I shed my old Twitter identity and, hopefully, will avoid confusion in the future.
I hope to continue to write about sustainable food systems because this topic fascinates me as a journalist. Not only is there so much social change happening quickly in this area–and such good stories!–but when I write about food I get to write about science, ecology, politics, culture and so much more. What a treat!