Polyculture is being touted as the answer to feeding the world's population with the smallest ecological footprint. Cornell is the latest to come out in support of this. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Oct07/diets.ag.footprint.sl.html
I was disappointed to read in Barbara Kingsolver's new book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
" vehement arguments against veganism. It deosn't help that her daughter is learning the standard nutritional misinformation about the necessity of animal products in the diet.
I find it sad that NONE of these local food proponents and polyculture studies take into account the environmental costs from a health perspective of a diet that includes even a small amount of meat and dairy. Medical treatment is expensive and toxic, wreaking a very high cost to the environment. Research into new "cures" uses a ton of resources and in some cases, such as genetic research, is downright scary in their potential to really mess things up.
I've tried having calm discussions with some of these folks and they are absolutely close-minded about the subject. They argue that one HAS to use animals to get maximum use out of non-arable lands. Um, how about just not trying to use the non-arable land for food production?! Leave it for wildlife. Or use it for your home or workshop or grain mill.
Thank you for letting me vent about this.