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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Buy Local

I've been reading a lot lately about buying things local. They say it is both good for the environment, less stress on the earth if it isn't trucked in from Cuba, and cheaper, for the same Cuba reason. OK, I can do that. Buying local makes good sense, it's not a hard concept to understand. The problem I'm having is finding the things that are cheaper? I think the local produce guys read the same articles I did and saw a way to make a quick buck!

Way does everyone make it so hard for a regular guy to get ahead? $4 gas, buy a hybrid, it's better for the planet. It's also a small fortune. Solar power is a good alternative too. That's really expensive! How am I supposed to participate if it's all so expensive. No wonder people hate tree huggers, you have to be rich to be one!

Back to the food. I asked the produce guy at the store where his squash came from. He told me it was being trucked in fresh from Georgia. Wow! That's a long way to go for squash. The problem is the Georgia squash is 50 cent a pound cheaper then the Perry Hall squash! Did the Perry Hall guy have to add to the cost to ship it in? Where are these farms with the cheap stuff? Do people in Georgia buy squash from Maryland?

We have a big chicken farm not 2 miles from here,they have to be cheaper then the Eastern shore chickens that are shipped up here, right? Think again. They are way more expensive then the ones at the grocery stores. Is there a club card for farms? I'm just a guy trying to do what is right, but also trying to not end up in the poor house! It's time to buy some chickens and rabbits to raise for food. I know they have self basting chickens, but do they have ones that are self butchering?

With gas as high as it is, and the farms along the Mississippi washed away in the recent floods, I'm worried that there won't be any food come winter. I'm growing some of my own food, some meaning a very little bit! I'm tired of reading these how-to's about saving money and not being to find them in the real world! Hey local farm guys, give us break! Maybe I'd do better to save my money, buy a hybrid, and then drive to Georgia where the produce is cheap!


Slammermike said...

I hear what you are saying. I think it all comes down to size and volume.

The mega farms that supply the grocery stores deal with such a high volume that they can charge less and make more money because they sell so much. They can buy the fancy expensive harvesting machines or hire illegal immigrants to work for less than minimum wage thus reducing the cost per acre.

They are able to pend more on fertilizers and irrigation equipment to get a higher yield per acre.

The local Mom & Pop farms have to rely on smaller parcels of land.

They are effected more by the weather (lack of rainfall) because they can't irrigate as easily.

They can't afford the large combine machines to help with harvesting.

If they hire help it is probably locals that must be paid at least minimum wage.

Crop rotation also must play a roll. The local farmer must take part of his land out of production or change crops.

I know where I live there are a number of farms. Many of the farmers either lease or share harvesting equipment. I see it moving from farm to farm.

I also notice the larger farms that have contracts with grocery stores or feed stores are able to sell their produce cheaper at their roadside stands.

Supply & demand also must play into the equation. Many local family farms are being sold off or divided and sold in parcels reducing the amount of land used for farming.

The farmers are getting older and their children aren't interested in farming for a living so farms that have been producing for generations are shrinking or disappearing all together. The only thing of value some of the farmers have is their land. So they are selling a hundred acres of their 300-400 acres to developers so they can build houses. Less land means less farm produce while there are more people in the area that want the farm fresh produce. Higher demand lower supply = higher prices.

It seems it is another case of the rich get richer or you have to have money to make money.

Anonymous said...

A club card for farms? You are killing me!! You make me laugh, you make me cry, and most importantly you make me think. Thanks!