Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Black Market

What do you get when you buy from a supermarket, even a health food store? Generally, a LOT of shipping, a product intended to sit on the shelf and look pretty, not taste good (because even at the health food store, it wasn't picked today), pesticides and fertilizers (even certified organophiles use these, just "approved" ones, and they are manufactured and shipped and all that jazz they just aren't petroleum derived -- still organophiles use tons of petroleum as in using propane burners to weed a mass produced mono-cropped field and to ship things to and fro), packaging, and lots and lots of taxes to support the useless bureaucrats to enforce the ridiculous regulations.

What do you get when you buy from the black market? Well, you can ask when it was picked, how it was grown, everything else about it. Even the local conventional produce stand here actually grows some of his own things, and while he buys the rest commercially, it is still more local than the wholesalers the supermarkets use. And more local than the mega-producer Melissa's Organics (which is really only a 280,000 square feet warehouse). With black market you can ask about variety and choose open pollinated varieties that work best in organic soil and add diversity to the gene pool. Black market is pretty much per force truly local.

You might even learn how to grow some of your own which is really the only real food security and is the epitome of “black market” in the sense that I am using it.

Best of all, utilizing the black market weakens everything about the government and their interference in our lives. Participation in anything strengthens that thing, and as Wendell Berry said in The Long-Legged House: "To make public protests against an evil, and yet live dependent on and in support of the way of life that is the source of the evil, is an obvious contradiction and a dangerous one."

$4 for a pound of green shelly beans ain't sounding so bad now, is it?

A nod to New Farm and their page about hidden costs of conventional food vs. hidden benefits of organic food. However, it is best to remember that certified organic is just another government program quickly becoming just another corporate welfare stifle on free market competition (please see the New Farm article “Who Should Own Organic” and the chart of organic industry structure).

And a note that while I don’t have any way to tie this in with something that is happening on this farm on this day, this is the sort of thing I think about and I think it is a great gift to have the freedom to think things that are not politically or economically correct. And I would note that this gift is the result of having chosen a life outside the vagaries of politics and economics.

No comments: