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Lucky Nickel Ranch serves as an anchor farm model to help individual farmers identify commodities that have established markets
with growth potential. It could then organize groups of local farmers to run a commercial farm to produce
crops that can enter the identified market.
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Why Buy Local
September 6, 2010 4:00 p.m. MST
Michael McKenzie, Lucky Nickel Ranch Owner
An overwhelming majority of
adults and Boomers, present company included, budget their food shopping trips more strictly in today’s weak
economy. This goes for the local food-movement or sustainable –food
movement type or locavore (one who only eats food grown locally).
Although these smart shoppers seek more value in health and nutrition of what they eat for less money, they
don’t want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy; so they continue to purchase organic
foods. However, what this majority is likely to be unaware of is
that there’s a critical need to know what’s behind the “organic” label adhered to that bunch of
broccoli. There is an important difference between buying local
organic and mass organic. The former is a sustainable food while
the other is not.
“Why does it matter?” you
ask. Well, an organic food is produced without synthetic
fertilizers and is regulated by the FDA before it earns that label, while sustainable food means the
conservative way food is produced by enriching soil (retaining soil moisture and its fertility) and conserving
water, not heavily reliant on a non-renewable energy source like petroleum to enable food to reach
Buying produce with the organic
label isn’t necessarily locally grown as well, and consequently doesn’t help to bolster the local economy,
unless the produce is purchased from your local farmers market or from a Whole Foods store in your
area. On the other hand should you shop the organic label at
Frye’s, Wal-Mart, Albertson’s, or Safeway you’ll get produce from big, mass-organic farms to meet mass organic
demand leading to exported fruits and vegetables out of places like Australia, Argentina, and
China. Obviously much petroleum is used on that imported
produce…not a sustainable farming practice at all. The top benefit of buying local organic is that quality and shelf life is
better and longer.
By the way, if you happen to be
at an U-pick farm and hear someone say that being a ‘locavore’ is actually healthier than eating organic, say,
“Not necessarily so, ‘cuz I know the difference between local organic and mass organic!”
Sustainable farming is central to my campaign in
or local fresh sustainable food for the community, for everyone. I am
a sustainable organic farmer and proud of it.
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