Thinking Local

France is introducing laws “requiring all of the nation’s “collective restaurants” (school cafeterias, hospital cafeterias, senior living communities, prisons and other state institutions) to source at least 40 percent of their food locally”.

“In addition to being locally sourced, the food served must be in season, organically grown and certified ecologically sustainable”.

This post inspired by: New Law Could Change France’s Food System for the Better

france_emPhoto: A new law requiring state institutions to source 40 percent of their food locally could revitalize rural French economies.  Credit: Ownership unknown

The French of course are working with a different definition of ‘local’ to what a spread-out nation such as Australia would at first glance imagine to be needful.  France is looking at distances of 30Km (19 miles) to 100Km (63 miles) for food sourcing depending on the type of food.

This is not just something ‘nice to have’.  It is an element that will be, in years to come, essential for the wellbeing of the French people.  The movement of goods around the world is already slowing, as I reported a few days ago.  Eventually it will cease altogether.  The global economy will cease to exist.  At that time, or more correctly from that time, we (that is anybody anywhere) will only have access to locally grown food.  Those who have no such access will simply starve to death.  That is why it is more than a ‘nice to have’.  We in Australia should be pressing our government to enact something similar.

We may also need, in fact I think it will be essential, to rethink our own definition of what can be considered to be ‘local’.  With the loss if international traffic, including petrol imports, our national transport system will become useless, except for maybe camel trains and bullock carts (finally a use for all those feral water buffalo up north?).  So, interstate sourcing of food will be minimal to non-existent, if only from a time (spoilage) perspective.  The same goes for intrastate transport, on a lower scale.  There will be no large scale agriculture at that time anyway, simply because the resources, which are intensely oil dependent, will have dried up.  No big farms.  No mass production.  No need for heavy duty transport anyway.

What will be needed is for a multitude of small scale growers to start up literally everywhere.  Such that we can adopt the rules (not that rules will be needed then) similar to what the French are looking to use, of truly ‘local’ produce sourcing.

The alternative is for most of us to starve to death.  Hadn’t we ought to be thinking about that now, before the situation overtakes us?  Anyone who is not growing at least some of their own food right now, will be behind the eight-ball when this arrives.  And that could prove to be fatal.  And it could develop quickly.  And soon.

There may well be little time to adjust to a new reality.

Oh, and for the French, only a 40% of food required to be local?  Well, yes.  That seems to be a quite adequate and sensible rule to me.  We (the world, that is) need only about a third of the food that we currently consume (eat and waste).  So, if we can only source 40% of current consumption, that will be fine.  And we all will be a lot healthier.

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