Taking the Long Way

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  • Title: Taking the Long Way: Rhetorically Generated Distance in the Local Food Movement
  • Author(s): Anna Zimmerman
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Food Studies
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Local Food, Rhetoric, Narrative, Genre, Burke
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v08i01/35-47
  • Citation: Zimmerman, Anna. 2018. "Taking the Long Way: Rhetorically Generated Distance in the Local Food Movement." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 8 (1): 35-47. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v08i01/35-47.
  • Extent: 13 pages


This article explores the rhetorical construction of the local food movement through the narrative genre of the food exposé. On the surface, local food appears to be a grassroots movement, easily understood by any and every one. Yet, through an analysis of the tropes used to describe and construct the movement, another story emerges—one that rhetorically distances audiences and creates gaps in our understanding. Using narrative critique, this article explores several popular texts about our food system and local food. Ultimately, I argue that the narratives of local food give the impression that this way of eating and living is for everyone, while simultaneously creating divisions that threaten the movement’s ability to forge identification with a wider audience. The largest issue is that the movement needs to rhetorically generate distance to argue for locality. Thus, this article reveals inconsistencies that undermine both the rhetorical and material goals of the local food movement.