Monday, March 12, 2007

The Seeds Of Victory

The Seeds Of Victory

all right with me.
is the way it should be.
is a good thing.
Plant that bell
and let it ring.

The sun comes up
in the morning,
Shines that light around.
One day, without no warning,
Things start jumping up
from the ground.
- Neil Young, 1974

Not going to try to link to every story about every stop about every candidate from this Campaignapalooza weekend. Register is a good starting point and you can take it from there.

Instead, my brain is zooming in on a Gazette article on locally grown produce. Despite living on the best farmland on the planet, Iowa is importing a huuuge amount of food:

Consumer demand in Iowa, according to the Iowa Produce Market Potential Calculator, Center for Transportation Research & Education and The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, outstrips the state's production of:

  • Apples, by 50 percent.
  • Cantaloupes and muskmelons, by 81 percent.
  • Raspberries and tomatoes, by 90 percent.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, by 99 percent.
  • Green beans, by 70 percent.
  • Carrots, by 95 percent.
  • Bell peppers, 96 percent.

    "You could easily live your whole life in Iowa without eating an Iowa-grown meal," according to a report by the Iowa Policy Project.

  • I grew almost all the above in my various gardens scattered around Johnson County at one time (never stayed settled in one spot long enough to start an orchard, and I'm not a big melon fan). And all that food grown elsewhere is trucked in by carbon-belching trucks. 20 years ago they made Belgian endive jokes about Michael Dukakis, but we're rapidly approaching crisis mode and the economic drain leaves us almost like a third world country exporting cash crops and importing staples. Is the victory garden a component in the fight for energy independence and against global warming?

    And is close to come food production ultimately a more efficient use of the gift of our farmland than ethanol? It would require a greater change in lifestyle from more of us - ethanol is just replacing one fluid in the SUV tank with another, and doesn't ask the old is this trip necessary question.

    Homegrown food strikes at the heart of so many other issues, too - genetic modification, corporate control, pesticides... I have a gardener's bias, and maybe spring in the air is motivating my thinking. But this issue should be on the map, especially in Iowa.

    Duncan Stewart, you need a blog.

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