Via Megan McArdle, here is a very entertaining article about a former basketball player-turned-farmer named Will Allen. His love of growing things and teaching spills over from the article, and his passion is infectious. He sees many reasons for people to garden--money, healthy food, connection to nature, moral and physical development, safeguard from hunger. It's a fun read.
McArdle's reaction? Individuals growing food will never replace industrial agriculture because of economy of scale. She utterly, completely, misses the point. Almost nobody expects industrial farming to end, except perhaps peak oil followers, and they expect the end of cheap oil to make growing one's own food essential.
I'm tempted to wonder if today's column was sponsored by ConAgra.
Monday, July 6, 2009
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That truly was an inspirational article (and I see you, like FMM, correctly linked the article from the first page rather than the last, as Megan did. Makes me wonder if she even read the thing). Leave it to Megan to reduce it all to dollar signs and efficiency and not any of the very positive things it contributes to that community. But hey, community farms didn't last where *she* grew up, so they must not work anywhere in the world.
I grow vegetables in my urban back yard, not to save money - with the time I invest, it would probably be cheaper to buy them at the market. But it's a nice way to relax outdoors on nice days and there's something immeasurably rewarding about eating food you've grown yourself. I wouldn't expect a soulless shill like Megan to understand.
...economy of scale.
How'd that work for us in the real estate bubble? A few giant banks, competing with each other to make the same mistake over and over.
And agribusiness could be doing the same thing, with their crops™.
Corn is too big to fail.
Perhaps McArdle figures that an economic approach is adequate, and the human involved are just getting in the way of profits.
She didn't so much "miss the point" as "turn the point into an opportunity to snark about urban liberals."
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