From the last ish of the Mud Creek News:
COMMUNITY FARMBy letter dated June 10, 2009 the Community Farm asked the Town to contribute $6000.00 toward the farm manager’s salary. The Community Farm made a presentation to Council on Oct. 10th which was very well received. As to CF’s request for money, they were told make the request during the next year’s budget process which has only now just begun. (Somehow $3000.00 was found for Acadia U pool improvements and $20,000.00 for a new projector at the Al Whittle mid-fiscal year.) The Community Farm now does not have the funds to hire even one coordinator. Last year there were three. A fundraising event will be held at the Al Whittle Theatre on Feb. 13th.
“Eat local” is the latest intellectual fad on the Left Coast. These “locavores,” as adherents like to call themselves, want you to eat only food grown near where you live — say, within 100 miles of your home. The goal, in theory, is to foster “sustainable agriculture,” to lower the carbon footprint of your food (which generally travels thousands of miles from farm to kitchen table), and consequently get that warm-and-fuzzy back-to-the-earth type feeling.
This little detail is significant because California is just about the only state in the entire union that has the climate and the soil to grow such a wide variety of produce that it could even theoretically support its current population with “locally grown” food.
One of the original and still most famous champions of the local food movement is Alice Waters, owner of Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse restaurant and pioneer of “California cuisine.” But she’s more than just that: In recent years she’s transformed herself into an educational reformer, promoting her ideas about sustainability through something called the “Edible Schoolyard Project,” which basically boils down to the introduction of gardening as a core curriculum in American public schools.
And that, actually, is the flaw in the whole “sustainable food” movement. For various economic reasons, organic food, sustainable food and even locally grown food is almost always more expensive than food produced in massive bulk by large agribusiness concerns. As a result, only the wealthy and the dilettantes can afford to dally with the pricey hobby of eating locally. The average person — and especially poor people and disadvantaged minorities — can’t afford the $5/pound organic vegetables sold by local farms.
Students were streaming away from the campus, and it seemed like every single one of them had fled the Edible Schoolyard and went directly to the nearby corner stores and bakeries where they had bought and were now eagerly scarfing decidedly non-organic and non-local food — like ice cream bars … contrary to what the administrators had hoped for and predicted, not a single student was hanging out in the garden once classes were over. Those who wanted after-school physical activity instead were all down on the playground training to be on the basketball team. …
The project’s administrators originally imagined that the garden would supply food to the school cafeteria, but due to safety regulations and other bureaucratic problems, they must now concede that “produce grown in the garden is not used for school lunch.” But even without the regulations getting in the way, the garden still does not produce enough food to feed the entire school for even one day out of the whole year, much less on a continuous basis. The kids who work in the garden only ever eat the food they grow in what seems like carefully stage-managed symbolic meals every now and then around harvest time.
If you can’t pull off the fantasy for a single propaganda meal, how can you possibly sustain the dream of kids growing their own food all year long?