Buy local

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How important do you think the "Buy Local" movement is to sustainability?

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Buy local

Post by VoteGreenCanada on Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:36 pm

Sometimes buying local doesn't help the community. For example, you could buy local eggs, but if the farmer treats the animals poorly, the money circulates in the community, but the farmer and the farm employees will be hardened. I would consider much of the factory farm business as employment cruelty, where the farmer workers have to treat the animals less than humanely. [Normally, such treatment of animals would be illegal, but in Canada, there are exceptions for 'standard agricultural practices' such as castrating pigs without anesthetic.] History shows that when a slaughterhouse moves into town, the rate of violence jumps substantially.
Also, buying a fairly traded import can benefit other communities far away. And yet, if you go the hardware store, almost everything is imported from a single country. How can we support local if we have lost the choice? This is just some food for thought.
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Re: Buy local

Post by Tigger34 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:59 am

In terms of sustainability buying local is very important to me, but it is not my only consideration. The bigger considerations for me are the conditions under which the animals were raised and the methods used for growing produce.

Buying local does decrease the amount of fuel used to transport food and goods. Buying organic decreases the fuel used and pollution created by large scale monoculture farming. Small sustainable farms decrease the soil degradation that accompanies large scale monoculture farming. Buying pasture raised meat is also more sustainable in that the animals eat their natural feed and are not fed unnatural feed that needs to be grown using large scale farming methods. In addition, the land on which the pasture raised meat is raised maintains its health.

Ideally, a person would have the choice to buy products that are local, organic and humanely raised.

I am quite fortunate in that I have the choice to buy local, organic and humanely raised meat, eggs, dairy, and produce. If I had to choose between buying local factory farmed meat or more humanely raised meat from a distant farm, I would choose to buy the (more distant) humanely raised meat. The same is true for eggs and other dairy. If I had to choose between buying locally grown pesticide laden produce and organic produced from a bit farther away, I would choose the organic produce over the local pesticide laden produce. So, for me, how the food was raised and how the animals were treated, is much more important than if the food is local.

In my opinion, at least in the US, if a person makes an effort, local, organic, and/or humanely raised meat and organic produce are readily available. It is a matter of doing the research and making the connections. (And often, these products are available within a few miles of where one lives.)

Link to the farm from which I buy my meat (beefalo, red wattle pork, ducks, chickens) and eggs: http://www.meyerbuffalofarm.com/
Their site contains some interesting links, blogs and information.


Last edited by Tigger34 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Buy local

Post by iampaul on Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:30 pm

I prefer local but there are always exceptions of course. For example, I'm not about to give up my love of fine coffee and tea just because it doesn't grow in my region, so Fair Trade becomes my trade-off when possible.

Back to the local theme, I am a CSA supporter and take great delight in sampling the wealth of products from smaller farm operations throughout my region such as cheeses.

Besides, I much prefer spending a bit extra that goes directly into the hands of local producers than put up with shouldering my way through the aisles of a Super Walmart to buy items of more questionable origins, possibly produced by poorly treated and underpaid workers to compensate for the costs of getting them all the way to me and to line corporate wallets, then sold to me by poorly treated and underpaid crabby clerks who just want their shift to end.

It's unfortunate that there has been quite a loss of small farms throughout my state, as discussed during one segment of this podcast. As the local movement gets a firmer footing, we can hope that turns around and small farming again becomes an attractive business option.
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Re: Buy local

Post by RichardF on Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:38 pm

If "locally grown" meant something, I might be more inclined to to believe it was important. At least in the U.S., that designation at most grocery stores doesn't mean much.

Locally grown? It all depends on how you define it

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Re: Buy local

Post by Tigger34 on Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:53 pm

I agree with you, Richard, that the definition of "locally grown" does not necessarily mean much. That is why I always read the label and look to see from where the product came.

For most items that are not meat or eggs, I shop at my local Food Co-op. Our Food Co-op clearly states (right next to the price tag) where each product (produce, dairy, etc.) originated. There is no guessing or wondering. Therefore, consumers can make wise decisions about the products they buy.

http://www.stpeterfood.coop/

http://www.stpeterfood.coop/we-know-good-food/labels-signage/

http://www.stpeterfood.coop/we-know-good-food/go-local/

And, as previously stated, my meat and eggs come from Meyer Beefalo and Buffalo Farm:

http://www.meyerbuffalofarm.com/

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Re: Buy local

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