BRINGING HOME THE FOOD ECONOMY (2) - - -"- - 16 Bringing t...

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----------------------"------- - 16 Bringing the Food Economy Home ruCs would be given free rein-the Seattle protests thoroughly demolished the myth that globalization is inevitable. Since then, there have been similar protests in Washington, DC, Prague, Quebec City, Genoa-almost everywhere policymakers have met to pro- mote the corporate agenda. By linking consumer, labor, and environmental concerns and by joining the interests of the Third World with those of com- munities in the North, the protesters have come to represent a large portion of the world's people. And virtually all the protestors are demanding a fun- damental shift in direction. For food in particular, such a shift is dearly needed. Centuries of agri- cultural progress in both North and South have taken away farmers' liveli- hoods, sapped the economic vitality of rural areas, and deeply damaged the environment-all while reducing the quality of our food. Although the growth of the local food movement inspires hope that fundamental change is com- ing, its future remains in doubt as long as government policy remains so firmly tilted against it. If government policies instead served to level the playing field, local food systems could once again supply the majority of people's food needs everywhere, just as they did not so long ago. 1 ------~------ f,\, 2 1fhe Ecology of Food Marketing Overflowing landfills, befouled skies, eroded soils, polluted rivers, acidic rain, and radioactive wastes suggest ample attainments for admission into some intergalactic school for learning-disabled species. -David Orr, Earth In Mind A KEY FEATURE OF LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS is that food miles-the distances food travels before reaching the consumer-are relatively low. This tneans that local foods use far less energy, and produce less pollution and greenhouse gases, than food from the global system. This, in fact, may be one of the strongest arguments in favor of a shift toward local foods. It is no longer in doubt that greenhouse gas emissions are altering global climate. Despite the pie-in-the-sky predictions of some, global warming does not mean that Scandinavia and New England will become suited to growing bananas and citrus fruits. Rather than gradual warming, weather everywhere is likely to become more unstable, unpredictable, and extreme. All over the world, in fact, people are noticing that weather patterns are changing-and 9pt for the better. In western New York, for example, parching drought fJ"om 1997 to 1999 was followed by torrential rains in 2000, the worst in 50 years. The extreme weather "could be the final straw for many farmers," according to the state's governor.! Climate change of that sort entails risks so high that it is irrational to Continue business as usual, especially when that includes encouraging people everywhere to depend on food transported thousands of miles instead of food produced next door. It is a notion that borders on lunacy, yet this is exactly what government policies in almost every country promote. As a consequence of those policies, food miles within the global food
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This note was uploaded on 08/24/2011 for the course GEO 4354 taught by Professor Hollander during the Spring '11 term at FIU.

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BRINGING HOME THE FOOD ECONOMY (2) - - -"- - 16 Bringing t...

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