By now most of us know that North American agriculture is for the most part industrialized. What more folks are talking about now is the impact on our health, the environment and the economy because of all this industrialized farming.
Machines are used to do everything from remove freshly laid eggs from the mama chicken’s living compartment (prison) to feeding and slaughtering animals.
Industrial agriculture also involves a tremendous amount of chemicals used as part of the process to control the ripening of our produce so they can stay “fresh” during their long trek across country and borders to households around the nation and the world.
There is, of course, a cost associated wtih all this industrialized food production. It takes fuel to run all this machinery and ship produce. Currently a barrel of oil costs $120 U.S.
Did you know it takes 35 gallons of oil or the equivalent of a barrel, to raise a steer to go to market? Recent media reports indicate that 25% of American petroleum is consumed in the producing and transporting of food.
Green living advocates across the country are advocating for a solution to this dilemma that is quite simply focused on encouraging people to eat locally.
When we eat food grown locally not ony are we eating food that in all liklihood has less (or no) preservatives (because it’s not travelling far) but we are helping our environment and our local economy and farmers.
Industrial agriculture is not environmental friendly. It uses too much fuel. There are also ethical issues involved as industrial farming uses mechanized methods of slaughtering livestock that many consider to be inhumane.
Thousands of family farms have gone under in the last few decades. Farmers haven’t been able to make a living for their families given the high costs associated with farming today and the relatively low prices of agricultural goods in our supermakrets. Farmers just aren’t making enough to cover expenses.
Many are calling for policies and legislation to help the family farm to produce products for local markets.
You can do your part – try to eat products from your local/regional farmers. Some school boards and restaurants are making a concerted effort to purchase products from regional suppliers/farmers. Raise this issue with your local stores and community organizations. Let’s help to save the family farm and support our regional communities.
EDITED TO ADD RESOURCE: Thanks to the great readers on this site I was reminded to add one of the best resources for information about eating locally. The website www.localharvest.org should be on your favorites tool bar if you want to learn more about eating locally. Locally grown food is healthier and CSA’s or Community Supported Agriculture groups are springing up all over to help more of us benefit from this lifestyle change. Read about CSAs on the Local Harvest website.