Friday, October 05, 2007

Enough Stalling!

Well, I've been delaying any sort of conclusion to my thread about local eating, mostly because I don't have any grand pronouncements to make at the end of it. I appeal to you, the readers, to give me guidance. Here is the lay of the land as I see it:

When I pursue the best interests of my household, I am led to shopping habits that are common to the lower classes throughout the industrialized world: namely, I get my groceries (and other necessities) from international discount chains like Aldi. The products that Aldi does a poor job of delivering (like produce), I get from a small ethnic grocery store nearby. But the local-ness of the store and the small size of the chain doesn't eliminate international corporations from the pipeline. The produce is still raised far away--as far as I know, under conditions for those who raise it that I would not wish on myself.

A side note here: Special K doesn't think I'm a wacko at all for expecting continuity between colonial conditions and corporate conditions. She does me a kindness, but I think such expectations are outside of the norm for most of our fellow citizens. And I am constantly confronted with my genuine ignorance of what conditions working for a corporation overseas are like, an ignorance that makes me hesitant to speak absolutely on the topic. It also makes me hesitant to act, which suits me fine--I'm quite afraid to have to act on these thoughts.

My fear stems from the radical change (and radical sacrifice) that seems to be demanded if I apply biblical counsel to these thoughts. Although the Wisdom tradition of the Bible seems satisfied with my pursuit of savings, that tradition is situated within larger concerns about justice and sacrifice. It is wise for me to seek the benefit of my household. But who is in my household?

You tell me, reader. Are the people who grow my food members of my household? If so, how do I seek their benefit?

1 comment:

Special K said...

While I, too, have personally struggled (and continue to struggle) with these issues, I think that at some point we all have to concede that it is nigh impossible to always eat local. I think that we should attempt to do so and maybe even pressure local grocery chains to change their practices, but at some point we'll all end up at Aldi stores. We all have to use our economic resources in ways that are most important to us. Maybe the money you save at Aldi can go toward paying off loans (a responsible handling of money), toward a charity of choice, or toward generosity toward others in your circle of friends or family. I think that as long as we're aware of the effects our purchasing decisions have on others, both locally and globally, we're doing pretty well. Even little changes, such as buying one or two local products consistently can still make quite a change.