This Toothpaste For Dinner Comic hit home.
My sister is reading Ben Hewitt’s The Town That Food Saved, a book about how local agriculture is revitalizing a Vermont community.
But from what she’s explained there’s a complexity that this introduces. Throughout America there are many towns like this with communities growing their own food. How could that be bad?
The problem is when these farms bill themselves as high-grade, organic food producers and price their items too high for the communities they claim to serve. No doubt that the food is high quality compared to industrialized farming, but it’s insincere to claim you’re serving your local community, but then price your items out of its reach, leaving a market of high-spending vacationers who love visiting quaint little towns.
A lot of these farmers are like prospectors of the 1800s—there’s gold in them thar hills, at least when there’s a healthy tourism industry.
But maybe it’s that way for necessary reasons. Rural communities have problems acquiring healthy foods. They’re surrounded by convenience marts, not grocery stores. Good nutrition is unavailable and expensive.
It’s another effect of brain drain. Rural communities face the brunt of deficiencies that rear their ugly heads when jobs go elsewhere. Because computers, and because who’s going to bring their young family to an area where its future is uncertain because of a lack of opportunity?
Can those food producers sustain themselves trying to serve these local communities with prices in-line with what that market can bear, or do they need to go towards wealthy retirees? Maybe that’s answered in Hewitt’s book.