May 15

Like John, I’ve been reading through The Town That Food Saved, and I came across a great quote (It’s lengthy but bare with me).

Bill Hewitt towards the end of the book talks about how a local food system and it’s benefits haven’t been quantified, both in terms of output and cost, and how it’s hard to really tell if a completely localized food system would work, since there isn’t data in numbers like we are used too. He then says:

“Ultimately, we probably do need these numbers; we live in a culture that believes, deeply, in the language of facts and figures. If we are to convince the bankers to loan us money and politicians to support this cause, we’re going to need to speak their languages. This is not to say that we cannot introduce new terminology to the conversation. Imagine a world in which lenders base their decisions on factors such as soil health, water quality, and percentage of waste that’s composted. Imagine legislation that creates tax incentives for farmers to sell directly to consumers or, vice versa, compels consumers to keep their food dollars in their communities. Are these things really so far-fetched?”

I am in agreement with Hewitt that they are not too far-fetched, but still out of the league for most places. I can’t imagine the growth and progress this small grass-roots movement of local food would have to go through to get politicians, bankers and the currently uninformed public to change their ways. I know small steps are being taken, and little by little we are paving the way for more radical change, but this vision that Hewitt paints still seems utopian to me. I think individually and in small groups we can currently live locally and really know our food. But as for the whole population to live that way, there is just so much against us, how will we ever get there?


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