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I think the biggest question that came up for me listening to this interview was whether the model Barber spoke about sidesteps some of the most pressing crises we face as a global community. The fact of the matter is that in many places of the world, people don't have the luxury of worrying about whether the food on their plate is of high quality or was grown on an organic farm. They can't even get enough to eat.

I wonder if you've heard of Robert Paarlberg? By no means do I agree with everything he says, but he certainly has some provocative ideas about how the West's new obsession with organic/local food may be eclipsing larger problems of poverty and world hunger.

An excerpt from one of his recent articles:

"In Europe and the United States, a new line of thinking has emerged in elite circles that opposes bringing improved seeds and fertilizers to traditional farmers and opposes linking those farmers more closely to international markets. Influential food writers, advocates, and celebrity restaurant owners are repeating the mantra that "sustainable food" in the future must be organic, local, and slow. But guess what: Rural Africa already has such a system, and it doesn't work. Few smallholder farmers in Africa use any synthetic chemicals, so their food is de facto organic. High transportation costs force them to purchase and sell almost all of their food locally. And food preparation is painfully slow. The result is nothing to celebrate: average income levels of only $1 a day and a one-in-three chance of being malnourished."

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/a...