What’s So Unfair about How We Do Trade?
The good news about unfair agriculture is—we don’t have to put up with it. There is another way…in fact, there are many alternative ways. We don’t have to be content with the exploitation and environmental degradation that often accompany Big Agribusiness, and we don’t have to fill ourselves with self-loathing and guilt trips just because we want to eat a tomato.
There are several ways to work towards a different way of buying and selling fruits and vegetables…
ALTERNATIVES TO UNFAIR AGRICULTURE
Buy at local farmers’ markets
Get to know the small producers in your area. Get to know how they produce their produce. Do more shopping at your local farmers’ market, and develop a relationship with the farmers who sell there. Of course, buying at the farmer’s market is no silver bullet, and does not guarantee that exploitative labor conditions were not involved in the production of the produce—but it’s a way to become more intimately familiar with how the produce was farmed. In fact, many of them will even allow you to go out and pick the produce yourself, or visit the farm and become a part of it.
Here’s a list of local farmers’ markets in the San Diego area. As you can see, they’re not hard to come by.
Get involved in urban agriculture
There is a growing movement across the U.S. (and in other countries) to make use of the urban spaces we have right here, next door, rather than bringing in all our food from miles away. It just makes sense—there are a surprising number of spaces available right in the heart of our own city where gardens can grow. Why waste all the gas bringing in massive shipments of tomatoes when we can grow them right here?
Here is one example of an urban agriculture project in San Diego, reported on in the Union Tribune:
In fact, earlier this year, San Diego’s city council voted unanimously in favor of urban agriculture:
Buy a share of a local produce farm or coop
This is an intimate way to become a part of the local farms producing fruits and vegetables. One local example of this sort of effort is the San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project:
Create a garden at home
If you live in an apartment, do some gardening on your balcony, in planters. Or organize with your fellow renters and the manager to talk about creating a rooftop garden, as thousands of people have already done. If you live in a house, it’s even easier—use the yard space to grow your own produce. It’s relatively easy, it’s cheap, and it’s good for your soul to eat food you’ve grown yourself.
There is a burgeoning movement here in the San Diego area to push for using yard space to produce food, rather than growing lawns (which are costly and, in this desert climate, use enormous amounts of our scarce water supply). Leave the lawn-growing to the golf courses.
San Diego Food Not Lawns:
As you can see, a plethora of alternatives to “exploitation agriculture” exist. And this isn’t even an exhaustive list. As we work towards finding more just ways to relate to each other and to the earth, we don’t have to stop eating, growing food, buying and selling. We can fill our table with fruits and vegetables that taste like justice.