The Locavores on the Bus
Public schools spend a lot of money and face little competition — a rent-seeker’s dream. So, it’s no surprise that the locavores are turning to schools to advance their agenda. The Post-Dispatch reports on schools and local food. Although the article opens with news from the Forsyth School, which is a small private school, it goes on to explain that many large, public districts are attracted to the same idea.
Locavores want schools to give preference to local farmers when purchasing food, even if the farmers charge more than distant suppliers. The 2008 federal Farm Bill allows it, the 2009 economic stimulus pours money into it, and a bill in the Missouri General Assembly would encourage it.
The locavores are acting in the name of “sustainability”:
“Sustainability is at the forefront,” said Kiersten Firquain, owner of Bistro Kids.
It beats me why anyone would think this practice is sustainable. Restricting yourself to food grown in a narrow region puts you at risk of starvation in the event of crop failure. How can a practice be sustainable if it will collapse at the first poor harvest? The locavores can’t even put their money where their mouths are for one year straight, because no food is grown in Missouri’s climate for a significant chunk of the year — during which season children are in school.
Food protectionism doesn’t help food consumers, but it does help the local farmers, who stand to earn a nice profit for doing their job less efficiently than farmers who are far away.