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Tilling Moral High Ground

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nosmokes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 01:36 PM
Original message
Tilling Moral High Ground
Good Essay on buying local.

original-progressive populist

RURAL ROUTES

Margot Ford McMillen

Tilling Moral High Ground

After the early warm spell that forced all the fruit trees into flower and the late freeze that killed all the blooms, we've had an almost-perfect growing season here in mid-Missouri. So, even though some wheat crop was lost and all the tree fruits in the Midwest were wiped out, local farmers can offer a good bounty of tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, herbs, onions and other standards of our area.

And, with so many people trying to localize their food purchases rather than buy from industry, this is a good thing. We have more markets than ever before. For the first time in years, local producers can pick and choose the places they want to sell.

Consumers going to the farmers' markets this year will begin to understand that you can't always have oranges, or even peaches (dang!), but you can get by with tomatoes in the morning. Imagine that you're living in England, where the broiled tomato is a breakfast standard. Or learn to enjoy other breakfast fruits -- like blackberries. Eating locally ties you to your ecosystem -- you'll begin to notice if it's raining or unusually hot, and you might wonder how the pastures look around your local beef producer.

The increasing consumer interest is welcome, as growers at farmers' markets have been barely breaking even for decades. One of my favorite growers, owner of a CSA selling to a medium-sized town, announced proudly in December that she and her husband had made $3 an hour running their farm in the last year. She had a right to be proud--that $3 per hour was a result of a lot of penny pinching. She had paid her workers minimum wage, so they made more than she did, and all her bills were up to date. But there was no health insurance, no 401K. Nobody should be surprised that her husband found a good job and she's now staying home with the kids, just raising gardens for themselves.

We've lost many growers in the last 20 years. They couldn't make a living, and you can't eat the moral high ground.
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complete article here
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1620rock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 01:43 PM
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1. Back to the land, back by popular demand.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 02:20 PM
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2. Nice, k&r. nt
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