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Can we feed the world on farmers' markets alone?

Glenda Humiston, panelist at the Global Food Systems Forum on April 9, 2013
According to James McWilliams, a historian at Texas State University, farmers' markets have grown from 400 in 1970 to over 4,000 in 2009. But can we feed the world on farmers' markets alone? Will they really lower our carbon footprint?

Glenda Humiston, California State Director of USDA Rural Development and panelist at the Global Food Systems Forum, said no.

"We can't feed the world with farmers' markets, and if we're going to try, then let's talk carbon footprint." Said Humiston, in last week's webcast.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Lincoln University in New Zealand, it is not always more energy-efficient for consumers to purchase locally-grown food. Often times, eating locally grown products consumes much more energy than eating imported goods. 

Additionally, according to an article by the New York Times, "It is impossible for most of the world to feed itself a diverse and healthy diet through exclusively local food production — food will always have to travel; asking people to move to more fertile regions is sensible but alienating and unrealistic; consumers living in developed nations will, for better or worse, always demand choices beyond what the season has to offer."

What do you think? Can we feed the world solely on farmers' markets?

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM
  • Author: Marissa Palin

Comments:

1.
I wish there was more information available for consumers to help us decide which foods we can and should purchase locally, and which are better imported from other regions, and why. Thank you for continuing this important conversation.

Posted by Lauren M. McNees on April 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

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