Every Saturday morning I head down to the local Kahului farmer’s market here on Maui. Much of the food was picked that morning by a farmer waking up at 3 a.m.
“[Fisheries] catch white fish in Lake Winnipeg,” explains David Suzuki, “They put them in barrels, ship them to China, where Chinese women fillet them. Then they package them and send them back to Canada where we buy them. Now if that isn’t insanity. We are dying for jobs and we are not willing to cut up fish….”
That’s a quote from the new film Escape from Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream. It takes a real look at what will happen when we deplete our oil supplies. How will people be fed? Few people realize that most of the food in North America travels at least 9,600 km (6,000 miles) from the place it’s grown to where it is consumed.
As oil becomes scarce the price will rise. And so will the price of food. Eventually oil will be too expensive to obtain. And our system of supply and demand will evaporate.
Turning Farms into Suburbs
Let’s hope it’s a gradual change. Either way, why wait for harsh circumstances to change our ways? We need to stop turning local farmland into suburbs. It may not be long before we’ll need those local fields back again.
One of the reasons I moved to Hawaii was because you could get local food year round. In northern countries, the traditional practices of keeping winter vegetables — like squash and carrots — in cold cellars is no more. People don’t can at home anymore. Everything is imported during the winter season.
Freedom from Withering Imports
If you don’t want to support this risky system… Find a farmer’s market with organic vendors. Or check online. You may be surprised to find there is already a network of organic farms in your area. They often deliver food directly to your door. You may have to commit to a certain purchase – the equivalent to renting the land and paying people to farm it for you.
The food will be fresher. It won’t be drenched in toxic chemicals. It’ll be grown in richer soil. It will be providing employment in your community at honest wages. It will help create a sustainable local food supply — in case we suddenly reach peak oil.
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P.S. People often say they can’t afford organic. Not at those gigantic supermarkets! Not when you live in Northern Quebec and the food has been trucked from Southern California. Try to see how much you can buy locally. Bring your family to the actual farms in the summer. Let your kids see where real food comes from.