Now look what you've done

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So ya tighten border controls and make it tougher for farmworkers to sneak into the country, and what happens? Duh: not enough Meskins to pick the lettuce.

lettuce.jpg support_growers1-200h.jpg

Not just any lettuce, mind you. Organic lettuce. High-margin, climate-sensitive, no-pesticide organic lettuce sold by Wal-Mart. Lettuce some of you asked for because it's healthier. Lettuce some of us want because it's better for the environment. The industrial food complex listened, and the corporate food giants like General Mills begat natural food giants like Cascadian Farm to plant organic vegetables...that are now rotting in California because they can't pick them (not enough Meskins anymore) so now the big boys'll buy their supply of organic lettuce in Mexico (still plenty of Meskins) or Asia (lots & lots of peasants in China) and ship it to the produce section in Laurelhurst and Bellevue where you'll be thrilled to pay the "organic" premium because it's so much healthier and ecologically sound. Right?

Pesky issue. has an article today that tars Whole Foods, a leading supporter of local agriculture, with the same "industrial organic" brush. Unfairly, I'd say.

And no, this doesn't mean I'm siding with the enemy. "Supply and demand" requires both supply ("organic" lettuce that happens to be picked by ill-paid, often illegal migrant workers) and demand (ditsy shoppers convinced by the rhetoric that "organic" is worth twice the price). There's really only one kind of lettuce worth buying: locally grown, period. If meat or produce has to travel more than 200 miles, the environmental costs of transportation alone negate any "organic" benefit; if it's boxed, canned or frozen, forget it. Class dismissed.

Listen to this post (1:48)

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Never mind "organic". "Local" is the new "organic. Check out New Seasons down here in Portland. We don't really have any new seasons. We don't even have any new planets. But we got local produce, and it's good.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on August 28, 2006 1:14 PM.

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