I take the position in my forthcoming book that the industrial organic food market will eventually become the dominant American food market.  Now, Wal-Mart is buying more local produce, defined as produce grown within the same state as the store.   Perhaps an industrial organic and ‘industrial local’ model will become dominant.  But either model–industrial organic food that does not use pesticides, or ‘industrial local’ that limits food miles– can have a very large environmental and carbon footprint due to factory processing, packaging, pesticide use (if not organic), and large distribution chains (if organic but from far away).

The industrial organic model and this ‘industrial local’ model no doubt provide significant improvements over the industrial conventional food system.  But a more sustainable food system has to be more holistic–more organic, less processed, and have a smaller carbon footprint where food miles are implicated.  This can only happen via diversified food markets (which includes better industrial food models), and changing consumer food choice options via informational (e.g., environmental life-cycle analysis), education (e.g., changes in dietary guidelines) and structural change (e.g., better access to local organic food).