Apr 292010

Slow Money is is an idea that encourages investment in local food production. What exactly does this mean? In Colorado, “Transition Colorado will spearhead a “10% Local Food Shift” campaign  to encourage local residents, restaurants and institutions to shift 10% of their food purchases to locally grown sources. The impact of this shift could be considerable. They estimate that if Boulder County citizens would purchase only 10% of the food they need for home use directly from county farmers, this would produce $37 million of new annual farm income in Boulder County — an amount equivalent to more than all of the 2007 farm sales in the county. And if 10% of their restaurant purchases were shifted to local food, that would add another $29 million annually into the local food economy.”

“Burlington (VT) economist Doug Hoffer estimated that if Vermont substituted local products for only 10% of the food imported to the state, it would result in $376 million in new economic output, including $69 million in personal earnings from 3,616 jobs.”

I can’t find any statistics on Whatcom County but I’m going to take a wild guess that more than 95% of our food is shipped in from out of the area. (Woody Tasch, founder of the Slow Money Movement says that 99% of investment in food production is in factory farm type operations) Just take a walk through Safeway or even the Bellingham Food Co-op. Check the labels for where the food is produced. It virtually all comes from somewhere else. (In summer the produce section of the co-op will feature local food as will the farmer’s market).

The fact that our food comes from somewhere else is scary. It wouldn’t take much of an incident to empty our grocery store shelves. This in an area famous for agriculture (blueberries and raspberries). Clearly investing a portion of our assets in local food production makes a lot of sense. Increasing your family’s purchasing of local products would be significant and, in the long run, increase our food security.

Woody Tasch explains the investment problem—currently .1% (one tenth of one percent) of our resources are invested in local food around the country.


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