Have you heard about the latest craze for big corps? Local-washing is the new black. What if you’re a big corporation buying items from Asia and selling them in communities across America, while keeping your employees part-time on minimum wage? Don’t you get to call yourself local?
I think we can all agree that Walmart is not local, no matter how much they may try to sell that baloney to us, but how pervasive and insidious is this problem? I love local weekend markets. Finding fresh, juicy, locally grown veggies, talking to farmers, perusing local handicrafts. I was enjoying one such experience at the Pompano Beach Green Market, when I noticed something odd. Some of the bell peppers had ‘Grown in Florida’ stickers on them, while others did not. I asked where those peppers were grown, and I was told Chile.
Chile? That’s not local. Hmmm
(On a side note, I also noticed everyone putting their vegetables in plastic bags. 2 peppers in one bag, 3 zucchini in another bag, and so on. Then at the checkout counter all of those bags were subsequently placed into another PLASTIC BAG! Really people??? I KNOW you all have reusable bags sitting on your kitchen counter. They don’t count if you don’t USE THEM!)
So far it seems that Whole Foods may actually be the best place to buy local foods in my area. In addition to the produce and meat, there is also an isle full of dried fruits, nuts, and other Florida-made items. It is a chain, but the point is – Does it create better opportunities for farmers than the local market? Since I see more non-local stuff than local stuff the “local” market, I have to say yes.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions!