Something that is often overlooked by environmentalists is the benefit to creating a localized food economy. Public schools spend billions of tax dollars on crappy lunches for kids, state and federal governments pay billions (or trillions) more to subsidize agribusiness. What if local schools were to buy all of their food from local agriculture? Farmers could charge a fair price and make more than enough to sustain them, the schools would probably spend less or at least the same, and kids would be less fat, more healthy, and probably be able to learn better.
My friend Fenton Wilkinson wrote a report several years ago on the benefits of such a plan. Here is a link to it. LINK
The key differences between the industrial food system and the community food system results from the fact that they are based on fundamentally different paradigms or “world views”. The industrial food system is viewed as the commercial production and delivery of food at the least economic cost, to those who can pay for it. Profitability is achieved by replacing labor with capital; maximizing throughput; controlling nature with technology, fossil fuel and chemicals; and by specializing and routinizing tasks. Conversely, sustainable community food systems operate at a human scale with strong attention to environmental integrity, economic self-reliance and social well being.
Last night I watched a movie called The Real Dirt on Farmer John. It dealt with a lot of these issues. Farmer John himself actually came to the showing and there was a discussion panel afterwards with local farmers on Oahu and Farmer John, a lot of interesting points were made. I recommend the movie as a pre-Halloween treat if you get the chance…here is the link to it LINK
As a follow up to Mink Hippie’s movie recommendation I recommend “Sicko” which I caught on Saturday. Michael Moore knows how to terrify people. As if I needed another reason to hate what the United States has been turned into by a bunch of greedy fucking pigs. I say we send the U.S. “health care” system, the pharmaceutical companies, and the pigs that run them to Farmer John’s Farm and have them slaughtered before going to the ‘delicatessan’