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Another Reason to Support Flying Pigs Farm: Their Truck Fuel

Every once in a while I get into a discussion with someone who has a bone to pick with the concept of the local food movement and farmer’s markets in general.

Some of the common points that they raise:

  • Industrial farms are the only system that could possibly feed the whole world. If we went back to farming circa 1900, millions would starve.

    That’s right AND wrong, by virtue of being a straw man. We don’t need to go back to the farming techniques of the 19th century to move to smaller-scale natural farming.

    Mankind has amassed TREMENDOUS knowledge in the intervening 100+ years. From our understanding of the sciences we can employ far-improved natural techniques to increase yield instead of using the brute-force petrochemical approach we do today.

    One piece of reading that discusses this is Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy

  • Greenmarkets cost much more than shopping in the supermarket. Shopping from them is an indulgence for those who can afford it.

    Again, that’s right AND wrong. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can amass a bigger bill buying the same items than you would at the supermarket. But if you’re smart about it, you will spend less.

    This is mostly because the greenmarket is a true market economy. If you jump on the first tomatoes of the season (or those grown in a hothouse), you are going to pay a hefty premium. If you wait until at least five vendors are selling a product, the price will be lower. Supermarkets have created consistency in product, availability, and pricing (at the expense of nutrition, taste, and food miles).

    The irony here is that many of the people who argue these points do so on a reflexive ideological basis, and that same ideology loves free market principles; its fun to watch the cognitive dissonance.

    The only products that are consistently more expensive are animal products (meant, poultry, dairy). That’s because the animals are fed vastly different diets and raised and slaughtered under vastly different conditions than the factory-farm products at the supermarket, and it’s at the expense of your health that you buy such products.

    But it’s a win-win because after we adjusted the amount of animal products that we buy, we actually started eating far healthier quantities of meat and dairy as well. Over all your health will be better and your food bill the same or less.

    I am speaking from a year of personal experience. We went from roughly $100 on average per week to $80. Of course, since we eat a lot more meat and dairy in the winter when there is less produce, our bill goes up in the winter and down in the summer.

  • The last common anti-greenmarket argument is:

    Surely it must be worse for the environment for 50 small vendors to each drive 200 miles to the market in old junker trucks than it is for a supermarket to ship using a “modern supply chain.”

    First of all, the “modern supply chain” optimizes costs within a framework of other requirements that the stores have outlined (see above). Not to mention the fact that this argument makes it seem like the supermarket is sending one huge shipment across the country (or continent) vs. the greenmarket’s many, which is false.

    But for my new favorite counter to this argument, I tip my hat to our friends at Flying Pigs Farm:

4 comments to Another Reason to Support Flying Pigs Farm: Their Truck Fuel