Wendell Berry on Buying Local Food

I posted a poem by Wendell Berry recently, so I was interested to read this interview with Berry in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In the interview Berry talks about the difference between a total economy, in which people “pay for everything; they are total consumers,” and a local economy, in which people “take back a certain amount of economic initiative and do things for themselves.” He then applies this concept especially to sustainable agriculture and the purchase of food.

There is a movement toward the local economy. And it’s coming about as a response to people’s understanding of the costs to the world of an economy based entirely on long-distance transportation. They say that the average distance that food travels from the field to the dinner plate is 1,500 miles. And this has a cost in fuel depletion and pollution. It’s a part of the permanent drawdown of necessary resources that are the basis of an industrial economy.

I found this article interesting, especially the reminder that much of our food travels hundreds if not thousands of miles from the field to the dinner table. We live in an area with lots of local agriculture and enjoy this time of the year tremendously. Last night for supper we ate freshly picked corn from a local farm and our salad items were grown locally as well. There is something just so good about fresh vegetables from the local market.

How about you? Do you take advantage of locally grown food when you can?

HT: Fire and Knowledge

1 Comment

  1. Margaret says:

    We have a large vegetable garden, and enjoy eating our own produce. There is nothing like peas picked an hour before dinner! Same with broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, etc. We are thankful to have enough land to grow so many of our own veggies. It’s a lot of hard work, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, freezing, – but well worth the effort.

    During World War II in England, my father, along with other neighbors, used some spare unused ground near our house, and shared the plots to grow our own vegetables. We had a very small piece of land of our own, so this was the ideal way.

    Maybe this could be multiplied all over America, and save all that money and resources spent on transporting large distances. Better for the environment, and good healthy exercise for the gardener!

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