A friend recently explained to me the "me vs. we" mentality when it comes to buying our food. I have to admit, I’ve had a lot of the "me" mentality going on. Here’s the difference:
- I want what I want, when I want it
- I want to get everything at the cheapest price I can
- I don’t want to be inconvenienced
(this sums up the American way, doesn’t it?)
- I want to support my local farmers and keep them in business
- I am willing to pay a higher price, because I know my local farmers aren’t relying on government subsidies to make an honest living
- I am willing to pay a higher price, because I believe that it is just plain WRONG that most real-food farmers have to work a full time job and then work for good food "on the side"
- I am willing to drive a few miles out of my way to get real, local food so that it does not have to be trucked into my local grocery store
- I am willing to eat what is in season, knowing that produce that is not in season (yet in my grocery store) could not have been grown by my local farmers and had to be trucked in several (hundreds of) miles just so that I could enjoy it out of season.
(thinking about the community as a whole instead of SELF)
The end result of both mentalities:
- Food is grown hundreds of miles away from us and trucked to us just to give us what we want (spoiled little brats ;))
- The government has to subsidize foods to make them cheaper for us
- Farming–the profession that FEEDS US–is no longer a viable career option…most American farmers are over their heads in debt and have to work a full time job in order to pay for the farm. (Shame on us, Americans! Really…This is sad!!).
- Because we don’t want to be inconvenienced, local farmers don’t get enough business coming to their berry stand or buying their raw milk or joining their CSA….And then another farm goes up for sale, because another farmer just couldn’t make it……(Side note: you don’t want to see farm lands be ripped up & Wal-Marts or other industrial buildings put in their place?? Support your local farmers!)…
- We improve the economy by keeping local farmers in business! (Lower those unemployment rates, starting in the rural areas!)
- Government subsidies become a thing of the past
- Farmers might be able to start FARMING as a full time job!
- Less trucks are on the road delivering food hundreds of miles to me. I drive somewhere in my community to get my food.
- Healthier bodies, eating food when it’s ripe/when God intended for us to eat it. Wet foods (nectarines, peaches, melons, tomatoes) in the summer when we need to be hydrated. Dryer foods (potatoes, squash, yams, brussels sprouts) in the winter when we need to stay warm….God had a perfect plan, and then we demand tomatoes in January and they don’t grow in our area in January…
- WE could revolutionize the entire food system………..
And as a side note, if you want an unrealistic (but very fun) view of what it’s like to be a farmer, play The Farming Game….We play it with our boys most Sunday afternoons. Try (with the roll of a dice!) to gain $250,000 in assets on your farm and become a full time farmer….