Why Choose Local?

Why Choose Local?

I want to make sure everyone knows our mission. 

Urban Prairie Agriculture is dedicated to establishing a stable local food economy that offers low-barrier access to fresh, locally grown and produced foods, regardless of the economic circumstances of the individuals it serves.

That is a whole mouthful. Here is the explanation. Our food systems have become so incredibly corporatized. According to an article published in Scientific American in 2011, in the 1940s and 50s almost half the food consumed in the United States was grown in home gardens. Currently, less than 6% of the food Americans eat is grown in home gardens. 

During the 1950s, two very important things happened to food. Industrialized equipment for mass production became available and chemical pesticides were born. Much of these equipment and chemicals were not suitable for home use. Marketing took hold and Americans began to believe it was better to let the professionals manage their food production. The facade of convenience was born. 

Alongside the study of food production history, Scientific American also compared the common health issues here in the United States with important periods in food production. Ailments that are uniquely a crisis in the United States but not elsewhere were lined up with the food production timeline. Those include things like diabetes, cancer and mental health. Coincidentally, pivotal choices in the food industry aligned with the rising health crisis. Cancer spikes at the introduction of chemical pesticides. Diabetes spikes at the mass production and further corporatization of our foods. 

Since that study was released in 2011, corporate foods has done an awful lot to obscure these facts. You can google all kinds of misrepresentative information about the health and locality of our food systems. That misinformation is good for corporate foods. They rely on the public trusting them, and feeling overwhelmed with deciphering the facts. Following the mass marketing lie that convenience is the best method for feeding your family is precisely how corporate foods flourish. The bottom line is, they are about the bottom dollar and have ulterior motives to make themselves look good and make real information hard to sort through. They also have the money and leverage to do so. 

What we know, and google can’t bury, convenience in food means we lose control. We no longer get to choose who eats in our community. Through purchasing over growing locally, we no longer get to share our garden surplus with the less fortunate. We now have to use our own grocery money to purchase food from major wealthy corporations to feed our food insecure. Corporations, who make no mistake, throw edible food away in the name of profitability. They would rather watch it rot in the landfill than give it away, because if people can get it for free, why would they pay for it? And since they asked that question, and operate on that faulty logic, I would also like to ask: If we can eat by growing our own or trusting a local farmer and storing it, why are we paying for it? The illusion of convenience. They have tricked our minds into their false reality loop. 

We no longer get to choose how we eat in our communities. 10 large global food companies own 94% of the food Americans currently consume. When we buy at the grocery store, massive amounts of money and effort have been dumped into preventing us from knowing what choices we are making. Choice is the heart of freedom. Without free choice, there is no freedom. If our choices are hidden and obscured, they are effectively stealing our access to freedom. 

That idea may seem a bit radical at first, but keep an open mind to it as you hit the grocery store this week. Think about whether you are able to freely choose what you consume through knowing what you consume. Once the reality hits you, think about how it works when you know your farmer. You can drive right to their farm and see how the animals are raised, or the plants managed. You know what you're eating when you eat locally grown and produced. These are people whose whole livelihood hangs on your satisfaction and they will likely have to look you in your eyes next week and answer for doing a bad job. It's pure motivation to do their very best for you. Their home and family relies on their quality and integrity. 

All of this is to say, shop local, preserve, and eat at home.

Food System Elements Diagram- Production, Distribution, Processing, Marketing, Markets, Consumption, Waste

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