These days, the food industry emphasizes two trends: organic and local. I think that many consumers buy organic perhaps thinking that it’s local, but here’s the kicker: it’s not. And by no means is it anywhere close to being even remotely local.This article in Business Week highlights the challenges organic companies face when looking for suppliers. It goes into depth about Stoneyfield Farm, a yogurt & dairy company based in Londonderry, NH. It also talks about Butterworks Farm up in the Northeast Kingdom and their smaller-scale operations. While I knew that organic food isn’t always local, I never knew just how much it travelled. I had always assumed that when I bought from Stoneyfield Farm, I was at least buying from a local company much like Ben & Jerry’s. Stoneyfield’s similarities with Ben & Jerry’s are more than just being a New England company: Ben & Jerry’s is owned by the Dutch conglomerate Unilever while Stoneyfield is owned by the French company Groupe Danone. One could make the argument that while both companies use local products from local farmers and employ local people, the biggest profits don’t always stay in the area.
What do you think about organic? Local food production? Local organic is the way to go, and judging by the difficulty many of the food companies are having in finding suppliers for their organic lines, becoming an organic farmer might be the way to go.
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