Locavorism vs Culinary Xenophobia
On a recent episode of Jian Ghomeshi's Q on CBC radio, he had chefs Jaimie Kennedy and Peter Gordon debate locavorism. (You can click here to listen to the podcast.)
As we would expect, Toronto-based local food champion, Jaimie Kennedy, hailed the virtues of local harvesting. This whole movement has resulted in more farmers' markets cropping up around urban centers and a shift in cultural awareness about where our food comes from. Locavorists take ownership over their regional economies, reduce greenhouse gases and increase overall food quality. (Tree-ripened food tastes different!)
Kiwi chef Peter Gordon took the opposition with the rather compelling perspective that locavorism is at risk of creating a kind of culinary xenophobia, echoing sentiments he had divulged in a recent article he wrote for The Independent. Gordon feels that by limiting the ingredients we permit ourselves to use, we limit our culinary imagination and potentially risk stunting culinary evolution.
By taking locavorism to an extreme, Gordon uses a rather compelling example of a Bengal family living in London and posits: what would they do if you suddenly told them they couldn't source any of the spices they use in their family's cooking?
The debate got my brainy juices flowing. If you had the chance to listen, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Is there a risk to localizing (and de-internationalizing) the foods we eat?