Why local food?
After a decade in the advertising business some of my friends were more than curious why I would sell my advertising agency to build a business focused on local food.
The short answer is that I think that the viability of the most important product in the world (food) is threatened, and being an incurable optimist (and someone who likes to eat), I see this threat as an opportunity to improve the situation for the long run. Marketing is a key part of that solution.
The simple fact is that we live in on a finite planet with finite resources. The food that feeds our families depends on the fertility of just a few inches of soil covering an ever-decreasing amount of arable land.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the number of people is increasing too. By 2030 the world’s population is predicted to be 9 billion – a 35% increase. To feed that population, global crop production will need to double.
Population is not the only threat to our food supply. The impact of climate change and droughts (like the one the Salinas Valley in California is currently experiencing) have cut production levels and put pressure on a supply chain that has consolidated production into fewer and fewer corporate farms that are further and further away from the consumer.
The growing distance from farm gate to plate exposes the food system to risks including rising oil prices. Transportation costs are now a large component of the price of food that in many cases is travelling over 1500 kilometres to reach your kitchen table.
You don’t have to be a tree-hugging-earth-muffin-hippy to pause for a moment in the face of these facts. I am none of those things. I am a very busy father of two boys and a Hemi-driving fiscal conservative who is thinking long-term and is more than a little uncomfortable with the box that the big boxes have put me when it comes to the inability to support local food.
I feel guilty every time I shop there, whether it is the quality and morality of food that was shipped from so far away or the sick feeling that I may be putting a local business out of business when I shop there. But absent a convenient option, I keep going back and keep inadvertently supporting an unsustainable system.
The edges of the big box have already started to crumple a little.
Sharp price increases have already begun to be felt by consumers for products – like beef that has seen a 43% price increase in one year, or most recently, pork prices that skyrocketed after a virus affecting piglets swept through the few remaining hog barns that produce pork. It’s not like many people noticed though – the industry simply reduced package sizing to maintain the price perception.
NOT BACON! YOU BASTARDS!
So I decided to do something about it.
Local & Fresh was born with the vision of creating a better option than the big box trap. Local & Fresh has a simple value proposition: What if a farmers’ market came to your house?
Look, I am still going to get my toilet paper from Costco; but where I can, I am going to give my food dollar to the local producer. The big box won’t miss it, but that buck could make the difference between only eating factory-farmed chicken with more miles on it than Bieber’s tour-jet or having a local and fresh option in the future.
There are many on this same path. The growth of farmers’ markets and the rise of local food restaurants are both examples of a pendulum that is starting to swing in a new direction.
We all get to vote for local food – three times a day.
I invite you to join us on the journey and help shape the path of Local & Fresh by filling out the survey on our website or signing up to stay in the loop and be a local food champion.
The journey has just begun.
LINK: Food Inc Trailer