The idea of promoting local produce does not necessarily mean the same
thing as being locally self sufficient. There are both advantages and
disadvantages of eating locally rather than nationally or globally. One
obvious disadvantage is that of mineral deficiencies (or even toxicities)
that occur in plants grwon on particular types of soils. Regional dietary
deficiencies of copper, selenium, chromium, zinc, iodine, etc. used to be
more common when people ate strictly local produce. By the same token,
serious toxicities, such as the famopus Cadmium (Itai Itai disease) toxicity
in Japan resulted from eating locally such that nearly allthe food and water
injested by people in a region came from that immediate region.
As far as both modelling the possibilities and effects, and perhaps as a
policy to actually accomplish greater local self sufficiency, I think that a
large (say $3.00 per gallon of gas) fossil fuel tax (or price increase)
would pretty well do the job as far as it needs to be done. This gas-tax
approach might serve as a framework to predict the consequences. If
strawberries in winter are worth that much to a person, let them pay the
price and so diversify their diets. Same for urban sprawl!
At 09:32 PM 12/2/96 -0800, you wrote:
>Dear SANET folks:
>We are preparing a special issue of our journal that will imagine what a
>sustainable, bioregional food system might be like in Northeast Ohio. We
>would appreciate ideas/comments on what the criteria should be for a
>sustainable food system (all food grown locally? minimized transportation?
>self-reliance? no energy inputs from other regions? all organic? equal trade
>with other regions? no ecological/social burdens placed on other regions?
>only small enterprises under local control? no strawberries in January?).
>We are also trying to estimate how regionally self-reliant we could be in
>Northeast Ohio if we maximized production of food for local consumption --
>if we preserved our farmland from urban sprawl, grew a diversity of crops,
>farmed organically to build soil, maximized urban agriculture and home
>gardening, developed local markets and CSAs, and got everybody to eat
>regionally and in season (whew!). Question: Has anybody estimated the local
>self-reliance potential for a region like Northeast Ohio? What might be the
>methodology for figuring out how far we could go with a local food system?
>Thanks for your help!
>Editor, EcoCity Cleveland Journal
>2841 Scarborough Rd.
>Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Ray R. Weil
Professor of Soil Science
Department of Natural Resource Sciences
1103 H.J. Patterson Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
telephone: 301 405 1314
FAX: 301 314 9041