RE: Rob Washburn's "Whenever you have a choice…"

First published: April 19, 2007

By Ted Amsden

Confronting big box retailing, foods from anywhere else but here, goods made on the other side of the world, the concerned consumer might feel a bit conflicted. Large choice, exotic options and cheap prices are hallmarks of Capitalism. But increasingly the price and the cost of indulging our buying habits are becoming known. Goods from other parts of the world tax the environment in a variety of ways during production and transport.

I suggested to Anne Burnham recently- owner of the Burnham Family Farm Market – that she begin a POP (point of purchase) campaign this year focusing on making consumers aware of the lowered carbon foot print and water useage of foods grown locally ie: local strawberries is an excellent case in point in terms of diesel expenditure to truck and field watering that are part of US berry production. The local method relies on rainwater and ships to market about a half mile.
Various extrapolations can be made about other locally produced foods and goods. Sure things cost a big more for say, that Shaker Box made by Peter Greathead sold in at the Art Gallery, than a China clone at Walmart but the option for the consumer is there.
In time, I can see “the environmental cost of things” becoming marketing dogma that will just bring us down. But for the moment, this moment in the necessary and inevitable shift towards environmental responsibility, it makes sense.
Buying locally, supporting your friends, neighbours and even that curmudgeon that wants to gouge
an extra buck or two out of you, is good for the environment. And.. surprise, surprise, apparently its more psychologically rewarding to hang with your retailer for a few moments than stumble ever onwards making mass purchases in an air hanger outlet….

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