A growing number of people are concerned about where and how the food that they consume is grown. So much is manufactured outside the country and "Made in China" is an all too common phrase. We have endured several health scares related to Chinese goods as they lack the health standards that we observe.
Several days ago I noticed several food items labeled made in China. I had not considered China as a food supplier for the United States. I cannot conceive of how it is possible for fish to be caught in China and shipped half way around the world at a profit. In an age of high oil prices it seems nearly inconceivable that these practices can remain profitable.
The primary purveyors of these goods are the "Big Box" stores. When these "Super Stores" come to a community, they often displace local stores. Local economies are greatly reduced or eliminated along with the attendant jobs and local business ownership.
The good news is that vegetable seed sales in American hit a record high this year. Many more Americans will grow their own vegetables this year, just like their parents and grandparents did. In addition, there are many more Farmer's Markets and local food providers than there were ten years ago. Some states are aggressively promoting local markets and other constructs that allow for local food producers to connect with food consumers.
If you have not been to a Farmer's Market you are missing an important opportunity to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables - among other items. The greatest joy in having my own garden is the sublime taste of my own tomatoes. Compare that to the tomatoes that come from far away and taste somewhat like a tomato. As for the delicious peas, corn and squash, there is simply no comparison.
Our scientists tell us oil will run out and will become very expensive. When the profit is gone from overseas food products, what will we do if local food producers have vanished?
Plant a garden with your children this year and show them the joy of growing your own food. Buy local foods and support the expansion of these efforts. You will be doing something good for your palette and our local economy. If you decide to plant a garden there are many wonderful resources available to help you including Essex County Cornell Cooperative Extension. Remember, all kids count.
Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org