What's the saying - no good deed goes unpunished? It's easy to forget that wisdom when you're trying to save the world. Case in point - the local food movement. Popularized by Berkeley professor Michal Polland and a few other passionate and observant thought leaders, local food is not only sweeping through your natural and health food stores, but it's also invading conventional grocery.
Today, however, the San Francisco Chronicle's Bill Moseley highlighted another ethical food movement at odds with the local - fair trade. His article is entitled, Farmers in developing world hurt by 'eat local' philosopy in U.S.
William's conclusion follows: "While the local food craze is all well and good, we should not be so quick to denounce organic and fair trade foods that are imported from the developing world. By shunning these products, we do not encourage local markets to flourish in these countries, but we condemn these farmers to the ills of conventional production for the global market (the only other real alternative at this time). We should remain open to such products in the short term, but also work for broad scale changes in the rules of the global market place to ensure that even conventional agricultural production is safe and fairly compensated."
I tend to agree.
Improving the world we live in is never easy. Hopefully an open discussion of the issues will help these two movements find common ground.