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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Liberals and Conservatives Have Beef in Common

Conservatives supply a liberal demand and in the process love - or at least the market - brings them together:

In Oregon, Thinking Local, by Marian Burros, Eating Well, NY Times: Six years ago "organic" was the next big thing in grocery shopping, but the term has begun to lose its luster. It has been co-opted by agribusiness, which has succeeded in watering down the restrictions of the definition. Today "local" and "sustainable" are the new culinary buzzwords. ...

"I think there is a gathering sense that organic and local are not the same," said Michael Pollan, the author of a forthcoming book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma,"... "Buying national organic products does very little for the local economy. ... Organic has important values having to do with pesticides and how land is treated, but now that it is industrialized, buying organic doesn't necessarily support living in a place that still has farmers consuming less energy." He added: "Moving organic food across the country uses just as much energy as conventional. I think this is becoming more important."

Kristen Crittenden ...[said] "It's nice to know where our food is coming from because you know how it was raised," she said. "It makes you feel good about supporting your local farmer and your local fishing industry." ...

The opportunity to sell locally has kept some area ranchers from going out of business in Oregon and nearby states. Doc and Connie Hatfield, who founded the Country Natural Beef cooperative in 1986, said the co-op now has 70 ranchers, who raise beef on a vegetarian diet free of hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified feed. "Nineteen years ago we were going broke," Mr. Hatfield said. "Now we are paying income taxes."

Mr. Hatfield was just as pleased about an unexpected byproduct of selling locally: the bond forged between rural and urban residents. "Most of the ranchers are rural, religious, conservative Republicans," Mr. Hatfield said. "And most of the customers are urban, secular, liberal Democrats. When it comes to healthy land, healthy food, healthy people and healthy diets, those tags mean nothing. Urbanites are just as concerned about open spaces and healthy rural communities as people who live there. When ranchers get to the city, they realize rural areas don't have a corner on values. I think that's what we are most excited about."...

    Posted by on Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 12:06 AM in Economics, Oregon | Permalink  TrackBack (1)  Comments (2)


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    » Getting Closer to Our Food from The Lone Elm

    Mark Thoma at Economist's View talks about how the political divide between conservatives and liberals can be narrowed over the topic of where we get our food from He refers to a January 4, 2006 New York Times article by [Read More]

    Tracked on Sunday, January 08, 2006 at 07:37 AM


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