Friday, Debtember 19, 2008
Living off the land
In April this year, we decided to test out the so-called Fife Diet, which was inspired by the Canadian 100-Mile Diet. Its creator claims that not only can you live on 100% Fife produce, but that you’ll eat better food doing so, and save the planet by reducing carbon emissions. We decided to find out if that was true, by trying to eat 100% Fife produce for a week.
In Part 1, we trek to the wilds of Fife and attempt to buy enough local food to last the week. Given that it’s farming country, how hard … could it be?
How hard indeed?
Watching the episode is amusing just to see how much globalization has affected our eating habits (and not just here in the States, but even in rural areas of southern Scotland). For a farming community, there doesn't seem to be much farming.
But … is the globalization of food so bad? I can get all the fresh oranges I want here in Lower Sheol, but there's only so much of that I can eat. But I'm not limited to oranges, thanks to globalization. I can run down to a specialty market and pick up a bunch of 龍眼 (or, for those of you not hip to traditional Chinese, lóngyăn)—well, I could which is the point. I have more choice in what I can eat when (not to mention that with some searching, Wlofie could probably find lingonberries here in the States).
And then there's a small fact that the localvorian hippies don't mention—a bad year for crops in Fife isn't tragic! Sure, it's bad and the local economy is probably depressed, but with a global market for food, that means that the residents of Fife don't starve to death because the crops failed!
So score one for globalization.
Also not mentioned is that small scale “organic” farming is more labor intensive and has lower production than large scale “non-organic” farming, which means less food overall and more people go hungry (but not to worry—the local locust population won't be under threat of extinction—woot!).
Reading up on the results of the Fife Diet is amusing and instructional at the same time. And it's not at all clear if the three of them will make it to the end of the week.
(And for those who are intersted, a free-market look at buying locally.)