Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Understanding the 'Local Food' Cry

Have you ever wondered what's up with "Buy/Eat Local?" 


To be honest, I've heard that for years, but no one ever says why.   I'd mostly heard it in conjunction with 'support local farmers.'  Which makes sense, I mean who doesn't want to help 'the little guy,' the potentially struggling farmer who is your local neighbor.  And I've always known that transporting food long distances isn't great for the environment in respect to that 'carbon footprint' idea.
But somehow I didn't really get the real reason behind it, 'til I heard Carolyn Steel's TED Talk about how food shapes cities, and really our world.  Within her first few comments, it kindof clicked, that theoretically it's what's best for us on a global scale; environmentally and socially, etc. 
I guess it also comes down to sustainability (another word I've recently come to grasp just a little bit better, but maybe that's another post/story).  If we could all eat from locally grown and harvested produce, then maybe distant parts of the world wouldn't have to keep clearing forests, and ruining land to make mass-produced crops that then also have to be shipped really far away.  All done very industrially.  
Idunno, the general idea makes more sense internally, than when I try to type out an explanation.
But, you might take a minute (or 15) and watch this interesting, informative talk. You History folk might like it just for the historical look.





And speaking of 'eating local,' I've been pretty interested in Farmers Markets and eating 'natural' for a long time, but have only been to a few recently, and mostly enjoyed natural food stores like WholeFoods, for variety, and convenience; but I'm definitely now in the mood to go visit what's apparently knows as "The Crown Jewel of Fayetteville"... the Fayetteville Farmers Market (which I've been meaning to visit since we moved here at the beginning of the month).
Who's with me?

(See, Activists? When you actually inform people about your slogan or cause [whatever it may be] and what's behind it, they're way more interested to get on board and be proactive with you!)

Photo not by me, I assume the Photographer is Jennie Frake, as it was from her photography site.

PS- Update.  
There's almost always a lot more to consider on both sides of a point like this, and usually a bunch of stuff  'on the other hand' that can easily make these plans not totally the best option. But I was at least pleased to have finally a better understanding of their cry... rather than completely jumping on board.  Though the romantic in me, does want this notion to pan out just as she suggests it would.

My very wise friend, Jared B., kindly replied with this reminder:
"On the other hand, I have heard the 'eat local' reasoning does not stand up to scrutiny. For example, the rain-forest-clearing reasoning seems less obvious when one considers it takes less land to mass-produce crops than for small-time farmers with diverse crops. Economy of scale actually lets the big growers do it with a lower carbon footprint than the local grower, too.I like local markets because you can buy more ripened produce and bigger better & cheaper watermelons. They're definitely something worth taking advantage of, so enjoy your trip."


  1. I've noticed that the people who push for eating local produce are the same people who hate modernity and decry capitalism. As such, their preference for local produce is often an outcropping of their stance on these issues. It gets jumbled, really quickly.

  2. Things along these lines surely do get jumbled really quickly! I'll agree to that.
    And I'm sure you're right that those two stances can often go hand in hand; but I've been reading from a ton of mothers and the like, who just seem to really want to feed their families 'nourishing foods.' They are generally very normal people in cities and suburbs, a couple on farms, and are the ones I've recently, most-often seen advocating 'eat local!'...While not saying anything against modernity & capitalism. Many are good ol' Texas families with generally conservative ideals.
    Though they're also the ones that kept me thinking, 'why?' because they said it so often, but never really told me what the reasons were. To be honest, they may not be supporting Ms. Steel's notion at all, but merely saying local is fresher and helps the local economy. So maybe that's really all it is, and I'm really off base from the general idea, with what I took away from the video.


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