In the Almond vs. Cow Milk Debate, the Fight Is All Wrong

updated Jun 7, 2019
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(Image credit: Christopher Delorenzo)

Are you Team Almond Milk or Team Cow Milk? According to Dana Goodyear, in her thought-provoking piece for The New Yorker, the almond milk vs. cow milk discussion entirely the misses the point. So where should we focus our attention instead? Not on what the crop is, but how it is grown.

With almonds currently facing scrutiny, due to their water-hogging reputation in the midst of a debilitating California drought, the decision to drink almond milk becomes a crisis of conscience. Of this, Goodyear says:

But the battle between Team Almond Milk and Team Cow Milk is surely the wrong fight. It’s monomania borne of monoculture. Our faith in the power of one ingredient — pomegranates, kale, Greek yogurt, acai — to save us, heal us, give us eternal life, perfectly mirrors our postwar cropping style: single-minded devotion to the One, and pure hatred for the Other.

Essentially, our propensity to devote all our love and affection (and spending dollars) to one crop has created an unsustainable farming culture. Her answer?

What we need to do as consumers is to break the habit of viewing foods singularly and essentially. In other words, it doesn’t really matter what the crop is; it matters how it was grown.

Farming a little bit of everything, as opposed to one crop, creates a more resilient system — one less susceptible to extreme conditions.

What do you think? Should we return to a more small-scale, diversified farming system?

Read more: What Milk Should I Drink? from The New Yorker