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Umbra Professor Speaks at Conn College

Umbra Professor and Food Program director Zachary Nowak spoke on October 27th at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. The lecture, titled “The Myth of ‘Eat Local’: The Case of Tuscan Butcher Dario Cecchini,” covers the basic misunderstandings behind the “Eat Local” movement, as explained through the framework of famed butcher (and Food Studies Program field trip host) Dario Cecchini.

Nowak focused on Cecchini’s much-criticized choice to import his meat from Spain. This is seemingly unsustainable, given the energy transportation “costs,” but Nowak pointed out that of a food’s embodied energy, transportation is a small (though still significant, at about 10-12%) part. Indeed, it is the food’s primary production and its cooking that are the energy sinks. Cecchini’s animals in Spain are grass-fed, not needing the ten months of barley and oats (and corn) that local Chianti cows need. Because grain production is so intensive, and because grain in Italy is often imported from Canada and Argentina, it actually saves energy to grass-feed far away and then bring the meat to Cecchini’s restaurants.

Read the full article on the website for The College Voice, Connecticut College’s student newspaper.

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