Locavore Economics

Recently NPR ran and op-ed piece speaking to the virtues of a globalized food economy and pointing out some of the painful fallacies in the beliefs held by locavores. I must admit, the argument made a lot of sense. Sometimes, the amount of energy it takes to produce a food item in one country and ship it all the way around the world to another country is less than the amount of energy that would be consumed if that exact product were created locally. Why? The example he used referred to the fact that lamb raised on grass in New Zealand and shipped to England uses a significantly smaller amount of energy than lamb raised in England because in England they raise their lamb on expensive imported grains.

I found myself taking a moment to ponder, are these things that I hold true completely silly? I am a self-professed locavore in every way I possibly can be while still living a functional life. Most of the day the article stuck with me as I mulled my values regarding food in my head. Again I found myself return to the word “sustainability” and the broad opportunities for application brought to us by this word. There is something inherently more sustainable about participating in locavorism. Not because of the food itself having a smaller carbon footprint, but because buying local fuels a stronger economy in our own back yards.

Let me get this out of the way, I shop at Target and Whole Foods. I’m not stupid enough to believe that we can avoid globalization or participating in the global economy. Half of the stuff in my house was made in China…I accept that. However, I also know that the choices made by an individual can make a significant impact on the success of a small business. I also know that small businesses patronized by the middle class have consistently been key to economic recoveries in America. Locavorism is an opportunity to have a genuine impact on the well-being of your community.

Buying local absolutely must be approached from the understanding that even when you buy a “local” product, you are very often buying items that were sourced outside of your community. I buy a farm share of local canned foods and I am certain that the jars, lids and labels did not come from Denver. But it doesn’t matter. The goal of the local food and wears movement should be centered on the concept that we are all members of a community and our happiness and well-being is tied to that of our neighbors. A strong local economy will feel little impact from the rattle to the global economy. If we support one another in a localized way, we are creating sustainable communities.

Choosing to buy from the farmer in my state allows me to know exactly who grew my food. I like this not only because the farmer has a higher level of accountability for the food, but because I know a bit about the family I am supporting with my purchase and I know that a significantly higher percentage of my dollars spent will be cycled directly back into my community. This matters.

Supporting small businesses run by middle class families is patriotism in action. I hear the call!


~ by vegucationmama on September 20, 2011.

One Response to “Locavore Economics”

  1. Don’t be so sure your jars don’t come from Denver… Ball, Corp. is based in Broomfield and while most of their business is in Aerospace Technology they are still in the home canning market as well. You may be supporting local jobs more than you realize.

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