Local farming VS. Big Agribusiness: The real costs
Originally posted on aMUSINGjames.com, My Not-So-Private personal journal of thoughts, musings, and short stories
In this video, David Korten explains the real costs of our current systems of food production and the view that without subsidies and tax breaks, those systems are not economically viable. So who is benefiting? Surely not us, who end up with old produce (the day it arrives at our stores), processed food and little diversity in our diets. Big Agribusiness is the only winner, monopolizing production, distribution… every step of the process… even down to the seed.
Switching back to a localized system of food production is a very important start in not only helping the economy, but helping the environment, our overall health, and even our families budget! So why is it so expensive to buy fresh and local right now? Subsidies. It makes sense… If you are to take some fruit, apply chemicals to make it last longer $$$, transport it by truck $$$, then by boat/train $$$, then by truck again $$$… it costs A LOT in fuel, maintenance, not to mention the environmental costs. So how can that be cheaper than a farmer (or yourself!) growing it, and selling it on site or at a local market? It just doesn’t make sense unless there is some heavy duty subsidies (that we ultimately pay through taxes).
I have seen versions of a local growing system here in China, and can tell you, the food is cheap, amazingly fresh, diverse, and tasty! You find yourself shopping daily for fresh things, instead of hording packaged food in the cupboards and packing the fridge… only to throw half of it out after a week because it spoils.
Growing locally doesn’t just mean local farms. It means in yards, on rooftops, and in community gardens. It is amazing the sheer amount of food that can be produced on very little land. The importance of local food production is ever increasing. As resources begin to dwindle, as climate change and debt based economic hardships increase, the threat of global starvation and famine come ever closer. These changes need to happen now, or we could be facing an even harsher future. David asks us:
What is the primary purpose of society? Is it to adequately address human need into the indefinite future, as a sacred obligation to both present and future generations? Will we be proud of our achievements, and the world that we leave to our children?
These are important questions that are becoming harder to ignore. The best way to start is in your neighborhood. Grow some food, get a community garden started, and save the world one meal at a time.
Video source: Cooking up a story