buy local

Why buying local can hurt small farmers

I've been fascinated by this push-pull argument of "shops should source locally." I think it's a flawed, over-simplified view that doesn't take into account massive variations in regional and seasonal growing conditions. Of course you can source locally year round in California but could you do the same in Missouri...or England for that matter? Absolutely not. And applying blanket "sourced locally" policies seems to be hurting local farmers.

During the summer and fall, nearly everything Farris delivers is grown in Missouri. That's Wal-Mart's definition of "local" — produce grown and sold in the same state. In winter, it's a bit tougher to source locally.

In 2010, Wal-Mart pledged to double its local produce sales from 4 to 9 percent by 2015, as part of a new sustainability program and a commitment to support small businesses. While the chain has exceeded that goal – it says 11 percent of its produce sold nationwide comes from local farms — there's little evidence of small farmers benefiting, at least in the Midwest.

Of the eight farms highlighted on Wal-Mart's locally grown web site, five are very large farms by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's definition, with annual sales in the millions of dollars.

via Small Farmers Aren't Cashing In With Wal-Mart : The Salt : NPR.