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The Inefficiency of Local Food

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posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 11:16 AM
I thought this was interesting considering the "small is good" meme that we always see which in reality flies in the face of the facts.

The Inefficiency of Local Food

But implicit in the argument that local farming is better for the environment than industrial agriculture is an assumption that a “relocalized” food system can be just as efficient as today’s modern farming. That assumption is simply wrong. Today’s high crop yields and low costs reflect gains from specialization and trade, as well as scale and scope economies that would be forsaken under the food system that locavores endorse.


A local food system would raise the cost of food by constraining the efficient allocation of resources. The monetary costs of increased input demands from forsaken gains from trade and scale economies will directly bear on consumer welfare by increasing the costs of food. And, as we try to tackle obesity, locavorism is likely to raise the cost of precisely the wrong foods. Grains can be grown cheaply across much of the country, but the costs of growing produce outside specific, limited regions increase quickly. Thus, nutrient-dense calories like fruits and vegetables become more expensive, while high fructose corn syrup becomes relatively cheaper.

Finally, higher costs on certain foods may be a solution to the big health challenge in the developed world. But higher prices on any food are precisely the wrong prescription for the great health problems in the developing world, where millions remain undernourished. As the food crisis of 2007-08 revealed, winning the war on human hunger requires a constant commitment to getting more food out of less land, water, and other inputs.

From roughly 1940 to 1990, the world’s farmers doubled their output to accommodate a doubling of the world population. And they did it on a shrinking base of cropland. Agricultural productivity can continue to grow, but not by turning back the clock. Local foods may have a place in the market. But they should stand on their own, and local food consumers should understand that they aren’t necessarily buying something that helps the planet, and it may hurt the poor.

edit on 27/11/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

edit on 27/11/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 11:23 AM
Dumb, outdated article.

Decentralization in the 21st century is the only clear path forward.

I'm starting an aquaponics business and will be selling plenty of fish and organic produce, while making a killing. All on a few acres.

There's a ton of assumptions in this article that just don't pan out once you consider the current state of agricultural technology already available.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 11:41 AM
reply to post by unityemissions

i agree sounds suspicious with its resources allocation talk
lol of course a fish or vegetable from Your aquaponics system is a fish or vegetable THEY can't sell you

for those interested in unplugging completely from the matrix

Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters building the Global Village Construction Set - a modular, DIY, low-cost, open source, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

The aim of the GVCS is to lower the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing. Its a life-size lego set that can create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, or in the developing world.

So Far we’ve prototyped 8 of the 50 Machines and we’ve been expanding rapidly. We are 100% crowd-funded. We have 400 True Fans that support our work monthly.

Welcome to MiiU ("me:you")

MiiU is the resilient community wiki. A resilient community is a place that produces most of what it needs locally and connects virtually for everything else. That means it is nearly immune to many of the negative effects of disasters and global breakdowns.

MiiU is a collection of all the resources and places that make personal, family, and community resilience possible. Resilience isn't only about surviving global failures, it's about building a better life for you and everyone around you.

reclaiming dead soil through hugelkultur

Ok. The goal here is soil so alive that doesn't require fertilizer, mechanical tilling, or much water.

don't forget weaponry and protecting your aquaponics from GMO pollen by keeping it enclosed, maybe add a bee colony so as to not have to count on sugar addicted or otherwise diseased bees

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 11:42 AM
Increasing yields via genetically modifying the crops and using heavy amounts of pesticides and herbicides will solve a problem in the short term, but create more horrific problems in the long term.

Besides, big agribusiness doesn't care about the environment, our health, or the health and welfare of the illegals it hires at dirt-poor wages to work the fields.

If something were to happen to our infrastructure, how will these crops come to market?

There are a million reasons why growing locally is smart. An area may not be able to grow everything, but it can grow a lot, and locally grown produce is fresher and has less chemicals on it. When TSHTF, localized farming will save communities from starving to death.

That article was obviously written by somebody hired by the big farming operations to get people to stop trying to garden on their own. Big Agri is all about money. There is a reason why the big money players on Wall Street are buying up farmland. They who control the food supply are King, and can charge whatever they want. Those who can't pay, and haven't learned to grow their own food or support their local farmer's markets, will end up starving to death.

Don't think it can happen here in the US? History says otherwise.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 12:08 PM
reply to post by C0bzz

As far as I am concerned small is good. Large scale agriculture is NEVER good for the planet either short or long term because of the insidious uncaring use of chemicals and pesticides and other scientific techniques that de-localise plants and make them dependent on an unholy brew of additives to survive.

The locally grown food from plants that have become accustomed to the area are always going to be better and stronger than Big Agri rubbish.

It may surprise these jerks that price is not just the immediate cost, but much more importantly the long term and collateral costs of growing food.

edit on 27/11/2011 by PuterMan because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 12:16 PM
Your full of ... compost... and brainwashed by the globalist system which has taken over our schools.

What we need is more local economies.

Local economies keep the wealth in your pocket vs sending it all to globalists who are constantly screwing us over!

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 12:17 PM
Must agree with the sentiment of most posters following the OP. The quoted article sounds like some good globalization, agribusiness, propaganda. "You need to be dependent on US!" ("US" meaning technocrat socialists, huge corporations, high level politicians, and of course, big banking).
Centralized management of society means one thing - less freedom.

And the assertions made are frankly untrue in many cases. I try to buy local as much as I can and my diet has gotten much more healthy as a result. In some cases, it costs a bit more, but in many cases it doesn't. Unless you are counting corporate foods filled with HFCS, chemical preservatives, MSG, nutrasweet, etc. Those are cheaper but then, you will ultimately still pay more via poor health.

Decentralize, decentralize, decentralize!

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 12:39 PM
reply to post by C0bzz

Nowhere in that article did I see any actual facts, merely assertions and assumptions.

Personally, I'm in the midst of adapting the Mesoamerican chinampa system to a high desert environment. I've excavated, mostly by hand (pick and shovel work) an area some 21' x 20' to a sloping depth of 3' to 4'. I'm separating the rocks, stones and pebbles out to form the drainage floor. There will be an airwell-fed canal or moat surrounding the plot with depths up to 2'; the canal will have mud traps to harvest fertile soil, and will support an aquaculture with tilapia, turtles, frogs, and freshwater shrimp. I'm incorporating solar refrigerators to increase the efficiency of the airwell. The airwell/rainwater cachement tank will be doped will colloidal silver, solar pumps will circulate the water.

When done, I'm planting a mixture of companion crops that will provide food, herbs, and medicinals. The chinampa should be ready by spring. I'll be putting up a website soon to document it.

People don't know their history. When the European invaders destroyed the chinampa system and replaced it with their own models, they traded one of the most efficient farming methods ever designed with one of the most inefficient. Mexican agriculture has never recovered: to this day, it produces less than what the Aztecs and Mayans did with the same space..

I'm hoping my adaptation will work as well in the high desert environment here. As far as I can tell, the relative humidity is high enough to allow for sufficient water extraction to support a highly productive plot. We'll soon see.

Throw in some chickens, and nearly everything one needs will be available from my garden, and the surplus will allow easy bartering for fill-ins.

Sorry 'bout that, Big Ag, I don't need you.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 02:41 PM
reply to post by apacheman

I'll be putting up a website soon to document it.

I do sincerely hope you will tell us when you do.

Sounds very interesting.

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