On NPR the other day one of the guests said that as China moves “up the food chain” we can expect a dramatic impact on the world’s ecosystem. I was struck by that idea. Chinese traditionally have eaten very small amounts of protein as a rare addition to largely plant-based diet. So what happens when 1/5 of the world’s population, or about 1.3 billion people, move up the food chain to eat more and more protein?
As China depletes its resources, it will increasingly turn to overseas food sources, and because of her size, China can alter markets merely through entry into them. If you think modern food production methods are harmful, what will it be like when the system has to scale to meet China’s demand? As the mainstream food industry becomes more and more enmeshed with international trade and politics, locavorism is becoming a very attractive option.