A comment from yesterday's late-afternoon post, by the ever-talented Meg - with whose blog I'm obsessed, by the way - made me very happy. Because she spoke the truth regarding buying local. If we all buy local, demand goes up, making prices go down, and it's no longer so much of a struggle to encourage going local. It would just be the way things are.
Which, to some of us, is how we grew up (Hi Mom and Dad!), making things suddenly fall into place when you see that as an adult you, too, have an option between buying your foods locally for the week or going out to dinner in a restaurant that night. Maybe you (like me) just can't afford to do both, yet the former makes you feel empowered, nourished and strong throughout the day, and the latter makes you (or is it just me?) feel somehow unsatisfied, puffy and poor. And to some, it's a new, eye-opening experience to learn just how much cost there is to the environment, and the destruction of local community, to get an apple from the orchard in which it was grown, to your table.
Yes, everyday we make choices, and I do think Americans are becoming more aware of the purchasing power we hold. However, we could do so much if we harnessed that purchasing power en masse, all buying local, all buying organic, thus giving those local farmers who grow organic produce more power, making it only fiscally sensible for grocery stores to get their produce from these same farmers because they can no longer sell the produce they get shipped in from across the country.
Companies will change when it will earn them money to do so. (The same goes for clothing manufacturers, shoe producers, and so forth as well as produce production of course, but that's a story for another day. A small step is certainly a worthy-enough start.) If we were to all stop purchasing produce from grocery stores, and only buy them from local markets, grocery stores would have no choice but to follow our lead. This creates community at the local level ("We did this!", pats on the back and so forth, along with the fact that Farmer Joe, who you see at dentist from time to time, who farms on the outskirts of town grew the tomato you cut up for your dinner salad), as well as a much stronger ecosystem on the whole. Never mind the fact that we'll all come away with plumper, juicier pomegranates, more fruit for our money, and a feeling of pride that we're truly helping the rest of our community, simply by doing our weekly grocery shopping.Small steps make a big difference when we all take a couple, so when you can, buy a local orange, and know you have my thanks, at the very least.