Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Local Food Supply

I was happy to see a fellow classmate post this article from the NYTimes magazine by Michael Pollan, Farmer in Chief. Given the current crisis facing the global economy, elected officials and the general public have taken their collectives eyes off of the issue of energy, and by extension, food. Ultimately food touches everything that our potential leaders are campaigning about, energy, climate change, health care, and national security.

I like the author's recommendation that federal policy encourage agricultural practices based on stewardship and solar energy (photosynthesis) over maximizing commodity production using fossil fuel.

Ultimately, we are charged with recreating local and regional farms including some innovative and futuristic concepts. It is heartening to know that farmer's markets and CSAs are going strong here in Massachusetts, with organizations like The Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets and the Massachusetts Dept of Agricultural Resources working to spread the "eat local" mantra.

Once I start taking an interest in something, it's hard to stop looking for information, especially when the 'net is always on.

While traveling on business in Quebec a few weeks ago, I see this article on listeria in cheese, Cheese raids showed more panic than prudence, and realize that there are things to be concerned about. Yet, if the retailers all purchased locally, and knew the "bad" companies' practices, would this have been avoided? Is it about recreating local business relationships that are not just transactional?

Then I come across the story about the problems with melamine in some powdered dairy products originating in China, China's Milk Scandal Now Seen as Risk in Europe. Need something sweeter? Just add a pinch of a fire-retardant ingredient and you're good to go. Remember how well it worked in pet food? This is now a few weeks old, and I am certain the full extent of the problem has yet to be determined.

To me, this has huge potential, especially in a slowing economy when American consumers turn inward to their families and homes; Your Backyard Farmer & Green City Growers.

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