Posted by: amelia | August 18, 2010

Go Local in World So Global

Posted By Adam Spencer

I wrote this blog post the day we reached Milwaukee, August 6th, but the time-warp feeling of this tour left the post in purgatory ’til today:

Promoting local food systems. After my first six days on the road with the Farm Bikers, I discovered this to be the dominant theme. And why not? Local food systems make sense. I’d rather buy food produced locally and have my hard-earned cash go to someone in my community instead of a faceless corporation that shipped it in from hundreds to thousands of miles away. Not to mention that food simply tastes better fresh. Eat close.

The mega-food model is not more efficient, it’s just more profitable and seems inevitable in our globalized economy. One example of this shift was presented to just outside Milwaukee:

Trek bicycles. Today we toured Trek’s corporate headquarters. They are only large company that still produces bicycles in the United States. They used to build all of their bicycles in the US, but competition forced Trek’s production abroad.

When your competition is producing bikes much cheaper with foriegn labor, your company sometimes has to follow suit. Building bikes in China and shipping them thousands of miles to the US is much cheaper than producing here–despite the hefty transportation costs involved.

These days, Trek only produces their high-end Carbon-Fiber bicycles in the States, built in an expanisve facility in Marshall, Wisconsin. Trek gave us Farm Bikers a tour of this impressive, high-tech process.

In a globalized econocmy, Trek can not produce all of their bikes in the US while still competing in the market. In a gloablized economy, it’s cheaper to ship in food from thousands of miles instead of stocking local food.

Trek is not at fault. American food providers are not fault. It’s the US policy of imposing complete free-market economies in developing countries while maintaining subsidies at home that is to blame. Our hippocratic foriegn policy for economies abroad creates a system that perpetutates unfair wages in developing countries while eliminating jobs at home.

Local is the goal. Both for food and for production of goods.


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