Posts Tagged ‘food miles’

Finke's Stawberries -- worth waiting for.

If you’re interested in another take on criticism of the local food movement that I mentioned earlier this week, check out a terrific post by Kurt Michael Friese of Slow Food USA, “Gather Round the Table: Another Assault on the SOLE Food Movement.” SOLE, by the way, stands for Sustainable, Organic, Local, & Ethical.

Friese takes as an example Missouri Farm Bureau vice president Blake Hurst’s recent essay on “The dark side of going green,” in which Hurst posits that it takes less total energy to ship strawberries to Canada in December than to grow those strawberries in Canada in a heated greenhouse. Hurst says, “The food miles are greater, but the carbon footprint is smaller.”

Friese counters that strawberries shipped from California in December taste awful, and that there’s another factor in the equation:  the local economy.

“Not only does food I trust from people I know taste better … it also keeps my dollars in my community. Consider this: there are about 50,000 households in Johnson County Iowa, where I live.  If each of those households redirected just $10 of their existing weekly food budget toward buying something local, whether from the farmers market or a CSA or eggs from the farmer down the road, it would keep $26M in the local economy rather than it being siphoned off to China via Bentonville.  Now imagine the same thing in larger communities.  That’s not a left or right issue, that’s a hometown issue.”

Growing up in a small town in the middle of nowhere (where what set us apart from other communities was our people, not our punctuation), I learned from my wise (albeit weird) parents that if I wanted my local grocery store to be there when I needed a quart of milk on a Sunday morning, I needed to buy my staples at that local grocery every week instead of driving 50 miles to the giganta-mart to save a few pennies (pennies that I’m guessing were spent on gas, anyway). Similiarly, if local businesses wanted any citizens to be around to buy their goods, they needed to support those citizens by paying them decent wages and supporting their businesses. Is this not a concept that we can all get behind?

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