The food world has been reeling in the wake of a recent Stanford survey concluding that “organic” food may not be as special as it’s cracked up to be. Many have rightly pointed out shortcomings in the methods and data involved in the study, but it has certainly sparked debate.
Among certain food world vets, however, the question at hand was answered some time ago: While organic is always preferable, buying locally produced food is more important than buying items that meet certain FDA regulations (the fact that neither model is sufficient to feed billions of people is another can of worms altogether). How do we know that this isn’t a new debate? “Locavore” was Oxford’s word of the year for 2007.