> this helps the environment because eating imported food requires transportation = fuel = pollution
It's not as simple as that. Producing the food takes fuel too, for tractors, irrigation pumps or even light and heating in greenhouses. And transporting food can take very little fuel per kg of produce.
That's what matters, you know. A ship carrying rice from Thailand may pollute a lot - but it can also carry truly enormous amounts of rice.
Bulk ship transport is fantastically energy efficient. The consequence of this is that if the rice farmers in Thailand are even slightly more energy efficient than the rice farmers in Oslo, Norway ;-) then it's better for the environment to ship.
I'm very sceptical of local farmer's environmental credentials. They have smaller farms, thus less economies of scale, and they are operating in a climate where you just can't grow very many vegetables, and those you can grow give much lower yields than they would on warmer latitudes.
in November 2008