While I agree with Barber's concern for flavor, I find his economy simply pandering to the rich. Will his rich clients push the U.S. federal government to stop subsidizing Monsanto and ADM, and start supporting local farmers? I doubt it. I expect that should what geographers call the friction of distance start going up, making local products more competitive, the agri-giants will figure out how to produce flavorless 'food' closer to market, leaving full flavor for the wealthy few, completely rejecting Barber's trickle down ideas.
His reply to the vegetarian question, to me, sounded like an addict desperate to rationalize his eating meat, particularly with saying that geography necessitates eating meat while ignoring that New Jersey's piedmont plains, which grow vegetables very well when they aren't paved over, are closer to Manhattan than upstate New York and New England. His next answer about growing kosher spelt in New York was a partial rejection of his very supposition that only animal products do well in the north-eastern U.S., and his injection of adding manure as a way of improving the soil to defend eating meat ignores the fact that until the 20th century that manure would have come from the animals used to plow the fields, not factory farmed animals raised solely to kill and eat. He also mentions willingness to use technology, but ignores drying beans and canning as a few of the ways of providing vegetarian diets year round to everyone.
And what of global warming? earthsave.org says vegetarianism is the "Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change in Our Lifetimes".
Perhaps Barber should ask himself if humanity's willingness to abuse and exploit animals is the starting point for our willingness to abuse and exploit other people. Maybe then he wouldn't be so angry and abusive in his kitchens.
How about interviewing Will Allen (local food for the not-rich) or Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (vegan food for everyone)?
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