Proximity shopping, local producers and the revival of rural areas are among the various concepts consumers face now. There are many others. However, given the circumstances of the world and trade we live in, I was wondering how local are the eggs or the chicken I buy? The farms can be relatively close to the big city, which would make sense. Nonetheless, very few, if any, of the rest of the inputs are local.
Let's start with feed ingredients. Not all countries produce enough corn or soybeans to be used in the feed. So even if the farm and processing plant are nearby, the main ingredients would come from far away. The same can be said of the vitamins and minerals, or amino acids or vaccines or genetic material. Inputs come from God knows where!
So, are we really buying local? I know people that feel immensely proud because they do not eat sushi because their country has no coast and fish needs to be transported from far away. But at the same time, they feel proud of their chocolate, a "local" product made from cocoa beans imported from Ecuador, Indonesia or Nigeria. Or they enjoy buying their "local" vegetables, but they boast being the top coffee consumers in the world, from coffee beans from Brazil, Colombia or Ethiopia. It must be nice to be a hipster in Zurich or Helsinki!
History tells us that being global comes from the old times. Many have enjoyed products from other places. The legend says that Aztec Emperor Moctezuma used to enjoy fresh fish every day from the Gulf of Mexico at his palace in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, today Mexico City. I have no idea how fresh it was because it was transported by non-stop runners at the time. But it was certainly not very local!
Portuguese sailors were stubborn enough to find a way to India and South East Asia looking for spices and trade. All this eventually led to Columbus arriving to the Americas. That is why the rest of the world now eats not only chocolate, but tomatoes, potatoes and corn, to name a few. And the Americas have pigs, cows and soybeans, to name a few, too.
So let's be real. Yes, we need to reduce our carbon footprint. We need to be more efficient and reduce waste. But eating local may not be the way to go. Is it just marketing?
What do you think?