Local Food In The News: Part 1

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  I have read several articles recently about the “trend” towards buying local foods.  JD also sent me a link to another story, Local Food Gets Trendy, by David Bollier at OnTheCommons.  Many of these stories focus on the increasing demand for local food and how that is evolving the local food movement from the “elite” segment of society to us more common folk. Hmm, I have always had trouble with how “elite” is defined. Is it rich? Educated? Health conscious? Snobby? Democrat? Elite is just another somewhat meaningless label when applied to concepts like buying more of your food locally. And “more” is the operative word in this discussion.

I have written many times about various aspects of  the local foods issue. My articles should indicate that I am a huge supporter of not only localized food purchasing, but buying more products in general from as local a source as possible. When you buy food from a store like a co-op with local vendors, or from a seasonal farmers market, you are getting real food, with great value, taste and nutrition.  Many of the articles I have read by others tout a “new” word, locavore, to describe people who eat only food produced within a 100 mile radius of where they live. Well, the word locavore is several years old, in fact recognized as the  2007 Word of the Year by The New Oxford American Dictionary. And please, be realistic. I am sure that 99.99% of food buyers will never be true locavores. But I do believe that if those of us that support the move in the local food direction address the questions and issues honestly, more people will buy more of their food from local sources.

This awareness of the benefits and importance of buying locally is great, but the authors of all these articles need to be upfront and inquisitive when researching and not just take the concept at face value. It is great that more people are buying food from local sources. It is important for communities to have sources like food co-ops and farmers markets for local food producers and food consumers to connect. But we need to be realistic about how much of most peoples food will come from a local source. There are hurdles that need to be admitted to and addressed in order for locally produced food to become a more standard offering.

I am a big supporter of local food for many different reasons. But I think all the issues need to be honestly addressed if local food is to become a choice for more of us. In my next post I will address a few issues that I think should be covered in every article that discusses local food.

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Will Sig
1 Swubird

Will:

I agree with buying from local growers one hundred percent. In fact, we drive around our community looking for small vendors, and since we live in a community that used to be primarily farming country, there are still a lot of small growers. I find their produce to be fresh, tasty, and competitively priced. We have several strawberry growers and that is an especially good treat.

On another side of this issue, I try to buy all of my products from local vendors. That way at least some of the money stays in the community. It’s good for our city. When you live in one city and shop in another, your hurting your community economically.

Great post.

happy trails.

Swubirds last blog post..SELF EXECUTION

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2 Bob

We buy as much as possible from local retailers and growers, gotta keep the money at home as much as possible, keep them in business.

Bobs last blog post..Iridium Flares and The Perseid Meteor Shower

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3 Kevin Hinton

Eat that which is locally grown and in-season – that’s easy for me to say – I have chosen to live in a subtropical/mountainous region – try it some time.
kk

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4 MommyWizdom

I didn’t search your blog extensively to find out, have you read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?

It’s an amazing testament to local purchasing of food. Definitely a good read. Thanks for the great article. I’m working on a post about this – I will definitely trackback to your post.

I hope you’ll come check out brand new Pet Peeve Tuesdays!!

MommyWizdoms last blog post..Saturday Wordzzle Challenge No. 1

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5 Steve

Hi Will,
I agree with buying local (not just food) for many reasons. As to local food though, it’s easy for me to say because I live in California and we have a wide variety of local food year round. I like the idea of buying local in part because it reduces the use of oil for transportation and hence pollution. I remember seeing tomatoes at a Costco that were from Holland – they must have been shipped in by air freight. Makes me wince.
But I think this raises an interesting question. Should one buy wine from California if you live in Oregon? Actually, I’m not serious about that question… but here’s one. Should one buy wine from Australia? I can’t believe it’s better than US wine, and think of the oil used to get it here. Just a thought…
~ Steve

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6 Gabi - Acai Berry Info

Here’s an interesting fact that I heard recently – there is currently not enough fruits and vegetables available in the US for all Americans to eat the daily recommended amount. And that is with the US relying heavily on imports! The US need to grow more and I believe that starts with the Government supporting US farmers.

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7 Nigel

I Buying local products, not just local food, is a really good point. Services too. A strong local economy is really important to maintain a sense of community, and to cut down on GHGs.

Gabi: The US government does support its farmers. More than one third of a [‘conventional’ ie, GE corn/soy loaded with pesticides and herbicides] farmers income comes directly from farm subsidies. US agriculture is so over subsidised that the price is artificially low, and US exports destroy local economies in other countries (Canada included, but mostly developing nations). The artificially low price of corn and soy also means that meat is raised on corn and soy instead of good ol’ grass, so farm animals have to be fed antibiotics etc etc etc. Basically, it is not a lack of support, it is the wrong kind of support that has led to America not having enough fruit and veg. Maybe Obama can take care of that.

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8 Will

Well said Nigel and if that can be fixed, it will be a happy day indeed!

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9 timethief

My husband and I are Canadians. We have lived in the country for 30 years now where we have had access to fresh organic meats, vegetables and produce. All year round we patronize small local shops and on weekends we shop at our local farmer’s market.
Shopping local has many benefits.
1. Local shops sell a wide range of great products at affordable prices.
2. Shopping local saves money.
3. Shopping locally retains and sustains our small communities.
4. Shopping local preserves our our authenticity and distinctiveness.
5. Shopping local saves the environment and helps reduce our global footprint.
6. Shopping local creates local jobs.
7. Local independent shops invest more in our communities.

Using food shopping as an example, we benefit when we purchase locally grown foods because food is at its freshest when it doesn’t have to travel hundreds of miles to get to us. Local producers can select their produce varieties for taste, rather than their ability to travel.

We help ensure that local farmlands will stay in production. We talk to the people who grow or make our food and they can and will respond to our needs, tastes, and questions.

More than a just marketplace, a farmers’ market is a social gathering where friends and families meet.

timethiefs last blog post..Potatoes and Alzheimer’s Treatment

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