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April 15, 2006

Comments

Rod

Josh,
In thinking about your "farmers market" comments I wonder about the difference between people (buyers and sellers) driving to a farmers market. I can't help but question the logic. It seems as though farmers and shoppers driving anywhere between 10 and 50 miles to a farmers market once a week is significantly less fuel consumption than a continual, 24/7 flow of hundreds of trucks, ships and planes from all over the world. In comparison, my local farmers market is within walking distance of myself and thousands of other residents. Since I walk to the farmers market I save the fuel it would take to get to the closest supermarket which is nearly 3x further than the farmers market.

In addition, I don't think we can simply look at the prices at the store for our data because of government subsidies and corporate distribution networks. However, if you do want to compare prices at the store you should be asking why local apples cost the same as apples from New Zealand. Here in Buffalo local apple are often sold for 59 cents a pound and other apples are sold for over a dollar a pound. Isn't that why you go to the farmers market? They sell produce that is more fresh than shipped produce and it is sold at lower prices.

Furthermore, there is significantly more oil and others resources required to maintain the infrastructure of our current shipping methods. With respect to trucking the interstate system includes thousands of miles of rock and tar laid with heavy machinery full of oil and fuel over flattened mountains and filled in valleys. The topographical toll rivals the waste of resources.

Rod

Veronica

Excellent points, John. Very well done. Worth the wait, I must say. Hey - have you ever read any Wendell Berry? I read some of his earlier works many years ago...when they weren't earlier, they were recent. But now I'm old and those books are early works. Hmmm...does that even make sense?

Anyway - if you haven't read any you should check them out. I think you'd really like him.

Josh

In California, Washington apples and California apples and New Zealand apples all cost the same. In fact, they are all tossed in the same crate at the grocery store. Meaning that the cost of shipping apples from washington to california is absorbed by the price of the california apples sold in california. Thus, buying local apples from a grocery store is not redirecting the market.

Everytime I visit my local farmer's market I have to drive. Not only do I have to drive, but all the produce drives down to the market from farms north of the city. The boxes of fresh fruits and veggies do not mask the giant, cargo vans that they arrive in. It's as if these farmers think they are the A-team. I bring this up to ask if this is really a better system: hauling produce cross country in semi trucks is not ideal, but compared to individual vans is it all that bad? It might be like commercial airlines versus private jets. Commercial airlines are accepted as much more economic.

One thing that I would add to your revolution, "V," is something about learning new skills, i.e. trade skills. I predict bicycle maintenance will become second hand to adults and youngsters alike. Repairing and servicing will become more economic because hauling it to the cross country and hauling it to the dump will be a major financial burden. The Christian response to this coming crisis might be to teach others how to be self sufficient by teaching things like bike repair, gardening, car repair, cooking with ingredients form farmers markets not "easy mac," carpentry, furniture building/repair, etc.

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