An article in the British newspaper this week, The Observer, highlights some sobering reasons why we need to eat locally and support our local farmers as much as we can.
Buying food from small, family-owned farms (hopefully organic, or, no spray) tends to be better for the animals, the soil, the environment and our health. Ayurvedic medicine holds that if you eat local foods, in season, this is most compatible with your body.
Here’s what’s wrong with eating commercial food from your local supermarket:
The figures are staggering. Wal-Mart currently dominates the global grocery trade with profits reckoned by the UN at the start of the century to be ‘bigger than the gross domestic product of three quarters of the world’s economies’. Today those profits have doubled. Five companies control 90 per cent of the global grain supply. The world tea market is in the hands of three. Eighty-one per cent of American beef belongs to four giant processing companies. None of these companies is answerable for what they do to anyone but themselves. They are ruthlessly anti-competitive, largely above the law, and more than able to impose their own, often ruinous conditions on the countries that supply them.
Commerce permits no deviation from corporately determined norms. Ninety per cent of milk in the US now comes from a single breed of cow, and the same proportion of commercial eggs from a single breed of hen. British supermarkets have reduced well over 2,000 varieties of locally grown apple for all practical purposes to two (Bramley and Cox). This kind of industrial concentration makes the food chain permanently vulnerable to contamination, disease or terrorism (‘I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply,’ said the former US Health Secretary in 2006, ‘because it would be so easy to do’). It also means that whole species of animals and plants face imminent extinction.
The whole extraordinary process of commercial collectivisation has gone largely unregulated and unopposed, if not actively encouraged by local and central government, partly because it is so lucrative, but partly also because so many of its more worrying operations take place out of sight on other continents, or parts of them, that most people never see. The food nearly all of us eat comes from plastic polytunnels big enough to be visible from space, vast feed lots each holding tens of thousands of identical cattle, and gigantic uniform plantations of corn or soybean stretching from one horizon to the next. It pillages finite resources, pollutes water supplies, eliminates wildlife, generates corrosive manure lagoons, exhausts and erodes the ground on which it grows.
You can read this complete article from The Observer at:
I know it’s more work to go to the Farmer’s Market, or buy straight from farms themselves. But in terms of your body, your health, the environment (which impacts your health), your soul — it’s worth it.