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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/18/11

Why Buy Local Foods and How Do Consumers, Small Farms and Businesses Become Empowered in This Era of Corporatization?

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How many of us buy all of our food from corporate grocery stores?   Do you know how the food you are eating was raised?   Do you realize the way food is raised affects your health as well as the health of your family?   Do you also realize the consequences of how the food was raised on the environment? How about the community?   The following list from the organization Grow Maine Foods outlines why local foods should be consumed ( )


1.) Personal health .  Food from the grocery store is increasingly becoming a representation of real food.  Much of the food from factory grocery stores lacks the typical minerals, nutrients, and health benefits of naturally grown food, on the one hand, but also has been super-sized, artificially flavored, and given an absurdly long "shelf life" using a variety of chemicals, genetic modification, and artificial ripening techniques.  An American health epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other undiagnosed illnesses is the legacy that factory farms and their grocery store outlets have left us with.


1.) Strengthening the local economy .  This is economics 101 here"a dollar that stays in the local economy becomes worth more than a dollar as it circulates.  It creates cash flow for businesses, its builds businesses, it helps community members to invest in each other.  Please read this short article about Portland, Maine


2.) Casting a vote .  When you spend money you are casting a vote.  You are voting with your money, saying, "this is a product that I desire and I support the creation of."  When you buy local food, you are demanding a future of healthy, Maine food"you are "creating demand," and this is what drives local business.  This means you are voting for a whole list of things:  fresh food, local food, independence from oil (transportation of food), revitalizing local economies, future policy-making that supports small farms, public policy attention to consumer dollars (which means policy change), healthy farming practices, (small, Maine family farms do not cause the environmental pollution and destruction caused by corporate farming) and real food security in your community.


3.) Food Security .  There is a surplus of food in the world, and most food shortages are artificially created for a variety of political reasons.  Food growing in your local farmer's field means real food security for you.


4.) Food Safety .  Despite scare-tactics and propaganda used to pass regulatory policies, history shows that most cases of food poisoning  originate in factory-farmed and factory-processed foods, rather than small farms.  The few cases that have originated from small farms affect one or two people, while the many cases that originate from factory farms affect thousands.  Although factory farms are the source of widespread illness due to poor safety procedures, the fingers get pointed at small family farms.  Why?  Because lobbyists for Big Business get paid a big wad of money to confuse and seduce (bribe) government officials into creating policies that shut-down small farms and champion factory farms, and one of the main ways lobbyists do this is by creating lies and propaganda about food safety.


5.) Strengthening the local economy .  This is economics 101 here"a dollar that stays in the local economy becomes worth more than a dollar as it circulates.  It creates cash flow for businesses, its builds businesses, it helps community members to invest in each other.


6.) Externalized costs.   The average consumer pays more than double the sticker price of cheap price of food we buy from the grocery store.  Why?  Big Business gets big by "externalizing costs."  This means that they do not take fiscal (or ethical) responsibility for the effects of their production, but the consumer does.  As taxpayers, we pay for environmental programs to attempt to fix polluted land and water caused by factory farming.  We pay into healthcare for the increasing physical and mental illness caused by poor nutrition.  We pay for "food safety" measures to regulate the unsanitary chaos created in factory meatpacking facilities.  And, worst of all, our taxpayer money goes into subsidizing factory farms to make this entire, unsustainable process limp along.  Its basically a daily bailout for the factory farms that are slowly killing us.


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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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