In this article from the Transition Network entitled “The EU wants to Block Romania’s 51% Local Food Shift,” we see how Romania has passed a law to mandate that all large grocery stores carry 51% locally sourced food products. Here is a short video to describe what is happening in this situation:
This policy also brings up lots of pertinent key questions to get this done correctly.
*What is the distance that qualifies as “local”?
*Is the 51% of locally sourced foods only in Summer? Or year round?
*Is this sort of arrangement even legal with current EU and/or NAFTA trade policy?
*Are there enough local suppliers to meet the demand?
As for this last question I feel strongly as though this is policy geared toward practical solutions-based sustainability and precisely what we need to address 1) job security, 2) food security and 3) ecological harmony in one policy.
While it may be true that there may not be enough demand currently for each large grocery store to stock shelves with this much locally sourced food, this creates the incentive for all of the unemployed people to have employment.
Eggs, chickens, orchards, potatoes, fish, aquaponics, lettuce, culinary herbs, goat milk, nuts, fruits and vegetables of all sorts.
Rather than coming from large, centralized, industrial plants where the money is funneled to the top 1%, this legislation implies that there will be a decentralization of the food production and distribution network system. Therefore, this legislation is a threat to those currently in power who are profiteering off of a lack of environmental policy that allows for neglect of ‘true cost economics.’
In Monterey County, USA, however, where Salinas, “The Salad Bowl of the World,” is located, we could still have toxic industrial food products on our shelves and they would be considered ‘local.’
This points towards the fact that we need to implement large-scale over-arching federal laws to cover the basics of this transition, such as mandating: no toxic gasses, no polluting water ways, must compost all animal waste, must grow top soil, no overhead irrigation during high wind/sun hours on a federal level; while simultaneously allowing each region to develop sensible policy to address the food production/distribution system in their own unique manner. After all, what may work to have a healthy environment and healthy people in Northern latitudes may not be the same policy/practices that would work in a tropical place.
The article concludes with this video from Ungersheim, France: “In Ungersheim, all the schools are now 100% organic food, most of it sourced from an organic market garden, Les Jardins de Cocagne, created on land owned by the Comune. It produces 64 varieties of vegetables, provides 250 baskets of food for local families each week, and runs stalls at 5 markets every week. The Comune are building a beautiful building which will be a place for processing surplus produce to extend the season and diversity output, creating jobs. The food economy is coming home, and the place is buzzing as a result, offering a compelling narrative that mass imports of food-as-a-commodity simply cannot do. No-one is ever going to want to roll back what’s happening there, and its widely-felt benefits across the board. “
Which is entirely the point and why we are talking about ‘Transition’ in the first place. We direly want to roll back whatever it is that we are engaged with right now, yet seemingly powerless up against large industrial corporations and lobbyist groups.