In a recent letter to the New York Times, Anna Lappé disputes a
Stephen Budiansky op-ed
that discounts the ecological benefits of a
locavore diet. By eating locally produced, less processed foods, consumers can indeed make a dramatic reduction in the food system's energy consumption:

Stephen Budiansky writes that locavores are wrong to worry so much about
how far our food travels when the “real energy hog” is you and me:
“Home preparation and storage account for 32 percent of all energy use
in our food system, the largest component by far.” This may be true, but
the lion’s share of the food system’s energy use comes from six other
elements of the food chain, precisely the sectors locavores are trying
to avoid.

A recent Department of Agriculture study
reported that 28 percent of food energy use comes from households while
much of the rest — 57.6 percent — comes from the processing, packaging,
transportation, wholesale and retail, and food service energy use that
locavores are seeking to avoid.

A real locavore cares about all of these steps.

Read the rest of the letter.