In previous postings local versus sustainable was discussed, with sustainable being the better option by removing the middleman between consumers and farmers. Now a look at local big business versus small business is in order. While we may believe that supporting a local big business brand name food production factory is helping to support regional economy, nothing could be further from the truth. Big business may promise to hire local workers and boost living conditions. More often than not wages are a decrease in income and working conditions are poor. Big business is also just that, business with a focus on increasing stockholder dividends and increasing the bottom line. Animal feed and farm equipment are purchased in bulk from contracted providers not usually part of the community they reside in. Small farmers have relationships with other local groups that supply feed and implements, keeping local business strong.
Other considerations are air-quality concerns with odor and possibly chemicals being pumped into the air. Factory productions are under specific regulation under the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Processes that are essentially for the inner workings of the plant and not necessarily what is put into the air, water, and earth surrounding the plant. Cast studies have shown that people living near food production factories are more likely to have sensitivity to allergies, more respiratory issues, and even mental incapacity with extended exposure.
Local farmers and the businesses that support them help make a sustainable community. If you are interested in looking into this further, please log on to www.sustainabletable.org.