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bóng đá trực tuyến Jan/Feb 2008 – A 10 Per Cent Solution

If just 10 per cent of the good citizens in Outlook, Sask. (pop 1,936) purchased locally produced poultry at $4/lb they could add $23,000 a year to the area economy and make a contribution to the viability of at least one farm. Get the town on board with this buy local movement—say 50 per cent purchasing local chicken—and they could inject over $100,000 into the area economy. In all likelihood this money would go to small family farms—those producing on a small scale.

And that is just poultry, consumed at the national average of 30.7 kg/person. It is fair to say that the people of Outlook go through statistically average amounts of beef (31.9 kg/person), pork (22.9 kg/person) turkey (4.3 kg/person), eggs (15.8 doz/person) and vegetables (74 kg potatoes, 68 kg lettuce, onions, carrots, tomatoes etc.). If just 10 per cent of the population buys these goods at decent prices from local producers they have added—by my not entirely reckless figuring—more than $150,000 to the area’s economy. Get 50 per cent of the population buying local and they’ve added three quarters of a million dollars to the local economy.

Of course if 50 per cent of the population of Outlook bought local that would attract international attention, increase tourism, generate little-town-that-did conferences and send tee shirt sales (motto: “Up with Outlook!”) skyrocketing; the spin-off revenues could be into the millions of dollars that could, if the citizens chose, build grain elevator-sized replicas of every member of the Roughrider’s Grey Cup winning team from recycled combine parts. But that’s another story.

For now, let’s focus on the possible benefits and drawbacks of buying local food. One drawback is cost. Four dollars a pound ($8.80/kg) is a lot more for chicken than you’d pay at a big grocery. I agree. But if your concern is with the viability of rural economies, and you have any discretionary income (i.e. to buy big plasma TVs, eat junk food etc.) then buying local is an option. How we spend our food dollar is a choice—just like a ballot.

Convenience is another factor—it is easier to go to the store than drive into the country to fetch a turkey for Sunday dinner. I agree, sort of. But something has gone haywire with our thinking when a two-hour trip down a major highway, through snarly traffic, to a superstore is considered convenient and a leisurely drive to the neighbour’s is a hassle. My experience is that a freezer full of pork, chicken and lamb decreases the need to go out. What is more convenient than that?

We know that local food is often fresher and therefore tastier than grocery-store food. We know it is more nutritious. By buying local—either 10 per cent of us all the time, or all of us 10 per cent of the time, or any damned formula as long as local is in the formula—we have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the rural economy.