Letter: The Case for Buying Local

"So let's stop pretending there's any other reason to eat local than that." I kept an open mind as I read your article but was sorely disappointed at the end. ["Eat Here Now" by Cari Wade Gervin, Oct. 20, 2011] My stomach turned at the seemingly self-absorbed last sentence. As a Christian who tries to love my neighbor, I take issue with the spirit of your article. I like to consider those other than myself on a day to day basis, and the greatest way I can do this is to buy local and organic food.

My family tries to eat local then organic as much as possible, but it is expensive, which is why I also garden. Admittedly we do buy some supermarket food—it's cheap and living out our values hasn't turned profitable yet. As a society, we can't just give up on seemingly impossible goals. One of the greatest causes of modern day slavery (along with the sex trade) is the modern industrial food system. The industrial food system thrives on the use of harmful chemicals and cheap labor. The former damaging our land and water, and the latter a great injustice.

I certainly cannot afford designer handbags or staying at the Blackberry Inn, but if I could I would ask myself if that money would not be better spent ensuring that a developing 10-year-old illegal immigrant in Florida was not picking sprayed strawberries, tomatoes, etc. that I eat. Also, next time interview a professor with the Agricultural Economics Department or Center for Profitable Agriculture. Five dollars spent at the farmers market goes much further in the local economy than $2 for tomatoes and $3 for a cheap Chinese toy at Wal-Mart. With a little research, you will find numerous studies supporting the case for buying local.

Nikki Petty

Knoxville