Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Slow Food

The New York Times had an interesting article today about the slow food movement. Essentially the movement tries to bring back old varieties of plant and animal that modern industrial agriculture has passed by. The article argues that one of the hardest issues is getting customers to accept something different. I guess not enough people shop like me.

The species of tomato, cucumber, and watermelon next to my window fit fairly well with the philosophy they have. It seems to me that if I am going to try to grow anything, I should grow something that is low maintenance, interesting, and really expensive, or impossible, to buy. Crops grown before good fertilizer and pesticides existed are usually fairly hardy. They are also typically something like twice as expensive in the store because of lower yields, difficulty in transporting over long distances, or other obscure issues.

I am not sure I support the movement on a really large scale though. Lower yields in crops are nothing to scoff at. The more of this stuff a farm grows, the less calories it produces, the more land must be used to produce enough food for us. I just don't think we could support the planets population without resorting to some really neat scientific tricks like industrial agriculture.

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