Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Americans Eating More Veggies, Want Veggies For All!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The W.H.Kellogg Foundation recently did a survey and found that a huge majority of Americans (about 90%!) think that equal access to fresh vegetables for Americans is important. Another majority believes that American SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) should be doubled at farmers markets. Your $1 food stamp at the corner bodega would be worth $2 at the city farmers market. That’s a huge push to get underprivileged Americans to eat fresh and healthy – something that many have argued is unaffordable when you’re living close to or below the poverty line.

Other great news to come out of this survey is that 70% of those surveyed said they had bought fresh produce from a farmers’ market or stand in the past year, and almost 70% said they ate more whole grains, fruits and vegetables than they did five years ago. Although obesity is a huge epidemic in America, this could signal that people recognize the need to solve the problem.

While this was a small survey (800 people), it shows positive changes in Americans views of the importance of fresh and local for for all Americans, which if you ask us, can only signal good things to come.

View a great infograph showing more results from the study (we love a good infograph!).

-Jess

You Better Be Sitting Down – TVs are Now Being Made in the USA!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Yes, that’s right. One company is bringing jobs back to Detroit and electronic manufacturing back to the US and seeing great results. Element Electronics has begun manufacturing a line of LED tvs in the Motor City, bringing hundreds of jobs to many former assembly line autoworkers in the depressed capital. The line, which comes packaged in a box emblazoned with the American flag, is sold out until the end of the year.

I’m sure you’re assuming these televisions are more expensive than those produced overseas, but you should be pleasantly surprised to know you’re wrong. Element executives say that even though labor costs are higher, lower tariffs and transportation costs help stateside tv production make economical sense. And as said previously, people don’t seem to be dismayed by the price tag at all.

With enough success, hopefully consumers can sway Element to bring all their production to Detroit – and persuade other companies to do so as well!

Watch the NBC News segment on Element and their Detroit factory:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Debate of the Day: Whole Foods vs. New England Fisherman

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

This debate may put New England locavores between a rock and a hard place. Who do you support? Whole Foods or local fisherman? The debate: Whole Foods in New England have stopped selling local catch that they consider to be not sustainably/over-fished. Unfortunately for many local fisherman who were supplying the green chain, this is bad news, as gray sole and skate, common catches in the region, are on WF’s blacklist. And if Whole Foods isn’t buying, your business could be hurting.

Whole Foods defense: It’s doing its part to address the problem of overfishing and help badly depleted fish stocks recover, using ratings set by the Blue Ocean Institute, a conservation group, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Gray sole, skate, and the ever popular Atlantic cod are all on the list – and all common catches for New England fisherman. In fact, New England’s Atlantic waters are some of the most overfished regions. And Whole Foods is not the first to make this decision. BJs Wholesale Club is planning to sell only sustainable seafood by 2014. What does this mean for small fishing businesses?

Read the rest of the article from the New York Times. Who do you side with?

 

Infographic: Locavorism vs. globavorism

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

From Mother Nature Network

 

 

 

 

Take Diane Sawyer’s Challenge to Buy Local this Holiday Season – Are You In?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

ABC World News and Diane Sawyer are challenging American consumers this holiday season to spend $64 of their holiday gift budget on American-made products. According to ABC World News, this effort could result in 200,000 new jobs for American workers.

With the average American consumer spending $700 on gifts this holiday season, asking $64 isn’t much at all. We Locallectuals challenge you to spend $100 of that $700 on American-made gifts.

Let us know what you’re spending it on, and join other Americans in “The Great Made in America Christmas.”

Walmart Becoming Proponent of Sustainable Agriculture?

Friday, May 20th, 2011

I’ve written in the past about Walmart’s decision to supply its stores with local produce, but it now seems Wal-Mart is going a step further in its green/sustainable goals. In Walmart’s recent press release about these initiatives it stated it was aiming to  “help small and medium sized families expand their businesses, get more income for their products and reduce the environmental impacts of farming, while strengthening local economies and providing customers around the world with long-term access to affordable, high quality fresh food”? Really Walmart, is that you?

AND these initiatives are not just focused on Walmart’s own operations, but on revitalizing the economies of rural, LOCAL farming communities. Seriously, where has our evil Walmart gone?

Here is what the corporate giant is planning to do:

  • Increased sourcing with small and medium sized farmers
  • Increased local sourcing, meaning food that’s produced in the same state in which it’s sold.
  • Working with suppliers to reduce use of pesticides, energy and water through improved crop selection and agricultural management practices
  • Raising income of farmers who are Walmart suppliers

WOW. Of course, these initiatives have received much good press – and skepticism. As Durango Telegraph reporter Ari LeVaux writes, “It may seem out of character for Walmart to act as an agent for positive change, but remember: the only thing Walmart could do that would truly be out of character would be to knowingly undermine its bottom line.” Well said, Mr. LaVaux.

I will say this is a very good step forward for Walmart. However, are they just trying to draw attention away from the policies they’ve received negative press for, like their low wages and outsourcing standards? And will “supporting” these rural areas actually end up hurting area farmers markets, co-ops, CSAs and other speciality markets that are more beneficial to farmers since they are farmer-run? These are questions that will only be answered with time, but I for one am nervous of the big box king’s attempt at going local. Something doesn’t seem quite right here.

The good news is that where Walmart goes, many others will follow. Walmart’s commitment to modeling sustainable agriculture as a viable business strategy at various economies of scale is wlikely to shape market behavior by other corporate giant. If Walmart is paying attention to the “buy local” movement, there must be something to it!

-Jess

Fly Delta? Be Prepared to Learn More about Georgia’s Delicious Produce

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Delta Airlines is a big name in Georgia. Headquartered in Atlanta, the airline employs thousands of Georgia citizens. But Delta is about to support even more Georgia workers, but running an ad campaign on its flights promoting Georgia-grown produce. The ads will run on the overhead and seatback monitors, as well as having print ads in Delta Sky magazine, as well as on its website, reaching over an estimated 4 million people on over 17,000 flights

Funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture specialty crop grant awarded to the La Grange-based Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, this partnership represents the type of high-profile exposure Georgia growers seek for the Georgia Grown brand.

“What better way to showcase nationally our products than putting them in front of captive in-flight audiences,” says Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee.

We couldn’t agree more, Wendy. And we’re bigger fans of Delta now that we know they are committed to supporting their neighbors and communities.

-Jess

Upcoming Event – Screening of Documentary “The Greenhorns”

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Thursday, April 7th at the University of Virginia’s Morven Farm. Space is limited! Check out this Facebook Event Page for more details.

The Greenhorns Film Screening Event

-Karen

 

 

New Generation of Farmers, Small Farms on the Rise

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

… these are phrases I love to hear. A few days ago, I read this piece in the New York Times about the emerging new generation of farmers. It touches on what and who influences these new farmers, as well as some of the challenges they face. Then today, in the Tampa Bay Online, you’ll find an article discussing the rise of small farms in that area. Smaller farmers there are finding eager buyers closer to home, but it is still unclear how much of an effect they have on the local economy. However, the article does point out some of the other benefits small farms provide.

Largo Farmers' Market - Image Via Tampa Bay Online

It always feels good to come across these little indicators that the tide is, indeed, turning.

-Karen

 

Who’s the King of King Cakes?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Who’s the King of King Cakes?

‘Tis Carnival season, as Mardi Gras is this coming Tuesday. While many areas, especially along the Gulf Coast, have notable Mardi Gras celebrations, in the US this holiday is most strongly associated with the New Orleans area. And the cake associated with this celebratory season in New Orleans is the King Cake. You’ll find a myriad of bakeries in the Big Easy baking up their own version, and of course everyone has their favorite. Here are a few notable examples:

Party Palace King Cakes, Kenner, LA: The folks of Party Palace have been making King Cakes for over 20 years… and while you may find that some versions of King Cakes have the taste of french bread covered with icing, not so for Party Palace King Cakes. Their cakes are moist and pastry-like, sure to tempt you into reaching for a second slice.

Owner Joan of Party Palace King Cakes

Nonna Rondazzo’s Italian Bakery, Covington, LA: At Nonna Rondazzo’s, every King Cake is hand braided, and each contains a toy baby trinket. Choose either a traditional or filled King Cake (pecan praline, anyone?) to celebrate the season.

Traditional King Cake from Nonna Randozzo's Italian Bakery

Haydel’s Bakery, New Orleans: Known as both the official bakery of the New Orleans Saints, as well as for breaking the Guinness Record for the World’s Largest King Cake, Haydel’s is not exactly flying under the radar. A family run operation for three generations, Haydel’s bakes up thousands of King Cakes each year. And we must mention that David Haydel is the only baker in Louisiana that is internationally certified as a Craftsman and Master Baker.

Three Generations of Proud Haydel's Bakers

Sucré New Orleans: Our award for the most gorgeous King Cake definitely goes to maker Sucré New Orleans. Colorful yet understated, surely it tastes as good as it looks, as it was voted Best King Cake by NOLA EATS in 2010, and featured in the March issue of Saveur Magazine.

Beautiful King Cakes by Sucre New Orleans

Have you a favorite baker of King Cakes, in New Orleans or elsewhere? Be sure to add them to the Locallectual directory today. Now… laissez les bon temps rouler!

Local Love,
The Locallectuals