21 May 2008

Local Markets

This article quantifies the impact of higher food and fuel prices on the "locavore" movement in Florida. Seems that consumers and suppliers are indeed responding to higher prices:
The number of Local Harvest members in Florida, which includes farmers markets, family farms and other sources of local foods, has jumped to 250 this year from 68 in 2004, said Guillermo Payet, founder and president of Local Harvest, which is based in Santa Cruz, Calif.

U.S. membership is more than 13,740, almost triple the 5,412 members in 2004.

"I've been saying for years that the buy-local movement will really take off when the price of agribusiness-produced and long-distance-transported foods goes up substantially due to high energy prices," Payet said. "That's starting to happen."
In an echo of a post from earlier this week, we see food production techniques going "back to the future"
In the days before agriculture became larger and more industrialized, just about everybody had a small farm or backyard garden, or had a neighbor who did, he said.

Now, what's actually nothing new is being reinvented, with more people interested in producing food, even in urbanized areas such as South Florida.
Bottom Line: Supply of industrial food is shifting up (higher costs, everywhere) and demand for local food is shifting out (willing to pay more, everywhere) -- a combination that spells good news for the local food producers. Hear hear!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Check out C. L. Webber et al Environ. Sci. Technol. 2008, 42, 3508–3513) on food miles and CO2 emissions. For all of ag, transport emissions are a small percentage. However, the highly subsidized beef and dairy industry comprise about 1/2 of ag emissions. If one considers the rest of ag, then transport emissions are much higher.
    Oh what a brew!


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