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Just Food    by James E. McWilliams order for
Just Food
by James E. McWilliams
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Fond of the locavore ideal (even though not fully committed personally), I was perturbed by author James E. McWilliams' assertion that locavores are misguided. Still, I wanted to hear him out. I did. And I'm forced to admit, the man makes valid points. The author is passionate, pragmatic, and persuasive.

First, it doesn't take McWilliams long to prove that locavore-ship isn't globally sustainable, lovely attributes notwithstanding. A former dedicated locavore, the author questioned whether simply thinking local was going to meet the challenges of the 21st century, namely, nearly 10 billion people by 2050. Second, he researched, he interviewed, he studied and analyzed, and he pondered. Last, he wrote Just Food, which expounds upon the following: food miles, organic and conventional, biotechnology and GM foods, use of chemicals, meat-centric diet and aquaculture, reduced tillage, and subsidies. Fortunately, the book is not stuffed with charts, graphs, or esoteric terminology, and is compelling reading.

McWilliams makes an excellent case for less beef. Conversely, he posits that without genetically modified foods the world is doomed. Well, the European Union and other forward-thinking nations may have something to say about that. Doable alternatives exist.

Even now, beloved, iconic writers on sustainable food, Pollan, Berry, et al, continue to help consumers weigh food conundrums carefully. Just Food, too, is for every conscientious consumer. McWilliams' insightful book, Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, is a worthy contribution to the canon of sustainable food literature.

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