Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can imagine that I have a lot of friends who are "localvores", people dedicated to eating locally produced products. I think it's great. The movement has the potential to stop suburban sprawl, encourage local food traditions and and cut down on fossil fuels. I say potential because there are all sorts of studies that show how Chinese farmed fish are somehow greener than locally caught. I don't trust these reports but I'm also too tired to defend local food. During the last election I found myself in discussions with people who would declare ridiculous things and I'd spend all my energy verifying their facts and of course they were wrong but by the time I'd confront them, they were already setting new houses on fire. I'm too tired and it's too clear to explain why we should encourage food production on the local level.
Having said that, so how can I justify the beans and shipping them across the country? Well, I've thought about it long and hard and for me, vegetables must be local, dairy and meat should be regional and grains and legumes should grow where they grow best.
Most of these declarations are based on shipping needs. Air freight seems so wasteful for food. I think regional dairy and meat processors would keep costs down and encourage good animal husbandry. Grains store and ship well, and there are some places that just shouldn't grow wheat, corn or even beans.
I'm kind of thinking out loud and I won't be offended if you think I have this all wrong.