December 11, 2007
Despite Europe's interest in eating local foods to reduce food miles, "Europeans are eating — and importing — more food from outside the E.U. than ever before," according to DotEarth, a New York Times blog. In May the Times of London reported:
Scottish prawns are being hand-shelled in China, Atlantic haddock caught off Scotland is being prepared in Poland and Welsh cockles are being sent to Holland to be put in jars before going on sale in Britain.
Eating local is simply not possible in a world of 6.7 billion people (and counting) says Andrew Revkin, who writes the blog. So what to do? Find alternative, less-polluting fuel sources. Too bad we have to wait until 1/21/09 to start putting that into practice.
What is wrong with Americans? Why don't we realize we're hurting ourselves and our children by eating mass-produced junk and not demanding more from our food suppliers? Local food seller Jamey Lionette says:
I think that because of the Depression (when there was no money to spend on food) and World War II (when there was rationing and everyone was focused on the war effort) Americans lost their taste-buds. Along came the mass-produced foods of the 1950s at cheap prices. Supermarkets were a "progressive" thing, as suburban living was progressive. Rural culture and production was frowned upon as old-fashioned and primitive. Food from all over the world suddenly became available and at prices lower than local food. Protecting America's foreign interest, the beginning of what we now call globalization, became a new form of colonialism. Foreign resources, raw materials as well as labor, were now easily exploitable by the nation's new superpower status. As the economy grew, money filtered down to the managerial and to some of the working class and was coupled with an influx of cheap products made cheaply and available to most classes of the U.S. Consumerism took off.
He also says Whole Foods and their competitors will ruin the local food movement by dropping prices so low. And:
If you could witness how most of our food is produced, you would not eat it; you would be outraged. We are so far removed from our food.
Well worth a read if you're interested in this issue. And did you know the Dalai Lama once planted a tree on Prince Charles' organic farm in Gloucestershire? And here's an interesting U.S. drought monitor. (Who's making the drought worse in the southeastern U.S. by the way? No one but those darn government fat cats with their coercive regulations.)
- Philip Ryan, Web Editor