A Balance Between the Factory and the Local Farm: NYTimes Business

Written by DAMON DARLIN, found in the Business section of the NYTimes, and published here.

(…) How practical is local food sourcing in a nation that enjoys a diversity of food? From a practical standpoint, there isn’t much that can be grown in winter in most parts of the country.

(…) Localism is difficult to scale up enough to feed a whole country in any season.

(…) But on the other extreme are the mammoth food factories in the United States. Here, frequent E. coli and salmonella bacteria outbreaks are the food industry’s version of Toyota’s sudden-acceleration and braking problems. It may be a case of a manufacturing system that has grown too fast or too large to be managed well.

While the author makes a point to compare some disadvantages of “local food” and “the food industry,” much consideration to the cost of the broken ecology of our food chain was missing from this article.

Rather, from a business point of view, what is the economic benefit to wide-spread ecological balance? The question is then, how will government, private investment, philanthropic donors, and local growers  assess how many people it is possible to feed with local food, and grow it, while at the same time measuring the ecological benefits, or consequences of each and every agricultural action? Will “local agriculture” one day recieve some of the annual government subsidy that “Big Agriculture” currently pockets? With some substantial funding, how much can “local” grow?

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