Thursday, June 5, 2008

Planet Green

Yesterday the Discovery Channel released it's first "all green channel" Planet Green.
The first show that I caught was "Stuff Happens" with Bill Nye (the science guy). Which I thought was actually pretty cool. It does seem like the kind of show that will be used in elementary school "library days" but it was good enough that I still wanted to watch. The episode had information about coffee and drinking only "shade grown" coffees to prevent further damage to the rain forests (and the animals that help to digest the coffee cherries and produce the finest coffees.)
But the best part was the small segment about where our fresh produce is grown.
It is funny how New Yorkers in "The Big Apple" eat Washington apples, even though New York produces more apples than they consume. There were several more examples of fruits grown in all states that are only imported from other states instead of being eaten locally. Plenty of things grown in our country, but the fruit we actually end up consuming came from another country.
Maybe I just don't have the business sense that these guys do, because obviously shipping Florida oranges to California pays a lot of truckers bills each month, but if they knew that their job was that backwards, would they still haul it? The answer is probably yes, because they need the money. And so do the rest of us and that is why we keep paying the truckers to haul ridiculous loads to places that already produce the produce they haul. A bit of an oxymoron isn't it?
That is something I have put a lot of thought into, and Bill Nye made a valid point: it is up to the consumers. If we decide to literally quit purchasing things that are not local, then the market will show that. But how many people are really willing to eat seasonally and locally all the time??? I am.
Here in Springfield, Price Cutter offers a selection of locally grown produce in addition to their shipped in produce. If more of our local consumers preferred the local to the shipped, they would carry more local produce. The same is true for all other commodities, it is up to the consumer to make the choice what they are willing to pay for and why and to continue to make that choice, until the buyers at those stores decide it is more profitable to offer seasonal local foods. It goes well beyond just supporting the local farmer, but also your community in general.
Increasing local sales is good for the local economy, and probably better for you, too. A lot of farmer's markets are organic producers, and you have the opportunity to meet the guy that grew your food and ask about the methods in which it was grown. Shaking the hand of the guy that produces your produce should make you feel much safer with what you eat..

More soon!

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