"Most of what's grown here is shipped out," Cleveland said while standing in a tomato field about a mile from the UCSB campus. "And most of what's eaten here is shipped in. That just seems crazy."
Corie Radka, second author of the study and a recent UCSB environmental studies and zoology graduate, added: "I think that, for people living in Santa Barbara County, it's a privilege that a lot of Middle America doesn't have. We have so much produce here, so much healthy food here, so you just assume there's localization, which results in better nutrition and decreased environmental impact. If that can't happen here, how can it happen anywhere else?
"Other research has shown that direct transport doesn't contribute that much greenhouse gas compared to other parts of the agrifood life cycle," Radka added. "It's called the local food trap. The word 'local' should mean better nutrition, and a decrease in greenhouse gases, but that's not necessarily so."
"Localization per se is not going to change people's access to food," Cleveland said. "So that's why groups like the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County and the Public Health Department provide food assistance and education outreach to try to get people access to food. Just having the local food there isn't going to change people's ability to buy it, or their ability to cook it, or prepare it. Again, it's the food trap. Just replacing imported fruits and vegetables with ones grown in the county, that's not going to do it."
Make no mistake, Cleveland and Radka said, localization is important. But their idea of a localized food system doesn't agree with what researchers heard when they interviewed local grocery store managers, who spoke with pride about their "local produce."
"I talked to a manager who was very excited abou
|Contact: George Foulsham|
University of California - Santa Barbara