Ken Meter: Building A Local Food Economy: Part 1 (video)

As the pendulum has swung toward a globalized economy, more people are realizing the huge costs associated with the singular pursuit of maximizing profit, employing cheap labor, and ignoring environmental concerns. A shift is underway to promote sustainable local economies, in part, a necessary response to increased fuel costs, and global warming threats. Creating a local food economy means valuing the production of healthy foods, creating sustainable markets for farmers who produce the food, and livable wages for farm workers who toil in their fields. In part 1, Ken Meter, of Crossroads Resource Center, defines a strong food system, and why it’s so important.

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  1. Walter Jeffries says

    But is globalization even relevant? People have been repeating this word, “globalization”, just like there was the previous “Get Big Or Get Out” mantra.

    What I see is that big farms have been doing terribly. We make a far greater profit on our small farm than the big farms do. While they lose $5 per pig and, unsuccessfully, try to make it up in volume we are making a decent living on our small herd based on just 40 sows. They’re big, they require enormous inputs, they have high interest payments, they’re unsustainable and when the market fluctuates or fuel prices spike they die like flies. They do it here in this country and anywhere they go because they’re based on big iron and high petroleum inputs. Globalization is killing Big Ag.

    Meanwhile, back on the small farms we thrive raising our own food as well as selling in our local communities without any need to bother with exports and the global economy. It really isn’t relevant. Imports and exports are really just luxuries.

    If you look at history from a macro-perspective, yes, you see what you describe that agriculture is about exports. But that ignores the fact that local, face-to-face sales of agricultural products has been going on from the beginning of this country, and before in other countries. The local sales flies below the radar of history. The text books like to talk about the cotton gin, tobacco and other big exports because they make a splash. Meanwhile people were eating the food produced up the valley by their local farmers.

    I’m not sure what you think is lacking necessary infrastructure. We sell to local chefs (restaurants) and stores as well as to individuals. I know of a great many other farmers doing the same. We are tight on slaughter capacity but that is a problem we’re working on that is artificially induced by very recent government over regulation stemming from the early 1900’s and cumulating in the last quarter century or so. Some of that change was well justified but it went too far. Now it’s correcting. The pendulum swings.

    We sell and deliver direct to our customers but there are wholesalers who would love to carry our pork and do the distribution for many farmers. There are organizations like the Vermont Fresh Network and others who help connect stores and chefs to farmers. We have feed stores, truckers and a network of various other suppliers. There are many farmers selling hay and corn, two of the primary feeds as well as manure which is a primary nutrient on the vegetable side of things.


    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont

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