This article in the New York Times really bothered me. Why are EU subsidies going to a big Fortune 500 corporation that is driving out local farmers? I didn't even know US based agribusinesses ran farms in other countries until the Swine Flu outbreak. The Mexican farm being investigated as the possible source of the outbreak is American owned.
While it's nice the price of pork has gone down in America, I don't think the cost to the pigs and the environment is worth it.
True local meat is more expensive. But I don't eat meat often and I don't want to support places that treat animals like this:
Every stage of a hog’s life — from artificial insemination to breeding genetic characteristics — is controlled. A handful of employees tend thousands of hogs that spend their lives entirely indoors, under constant lighting, to spur growth. Sows churn out litters three or four times a year. Within 300 days, a pig weighing roughly 120 kilograms, or 270 pounds, is ready for slaughter.
Smithfield fine-tuned its approach in the depressed tobacco country of eastern North Carolina in the 1990s. In 2000, money started flowing from a Smithfield political action committee in that state and around the United States. Ultimately, more than $1 million went to candidates in state and federal elections. North Carolina lawmakers helped fast-track permits for Smithfield and exempted pig farms from zoning laws.
Some of this pork goes Africa. In the article one local African farmer said he can't compete with the cheaper imports so he is going to move to Italy or Spain for work. So weird that this man in a small village is being impacted by the actions of a wealthy company thousands of miles away.
More and more people are trying to be "locavores." To buy foods that are grown/raised near their homes and to support local farmers. I have found it a lot easier to do this since the move to Italy. Other than the occasional avocado and banana my fruit, veggies and meat come from the boot.
Yes it sucks when your favorite foods are out of season but after tasting real tomatoes again, I can't go back.
I read that in the States more people are planting gardens partly due to the economic downturn. It upsets me that so many people don't have access to good fresh produce. When I lived in DC the local supermarket had veggies and meat that was so foul it turned my stomach. Meanwhile in Potomac, MD the Giant Foods was amazing.
Do you garden or go to a Farmer's Market? Why?