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Supersize us.

Your review of Farm Sanctuary by Rod Dreher (April 21) deserves comment. Dreher promotes localism in farming and decries the inhumanity of large farms. He also states that he is willing to pay the price for food that is grown and raised on a small scale. This niche seems to be well represented by Whole Foods, a market chain that caters to an upscale customer. But it is only a niche.

When people advocate localism I ask myself, do they really believe it can replace agribusiness? Do they realize just how expensive everything would be if all foods were produced on a small scale? Farming is a global business. There are still small farms, and that is a good thing, but farms overall have gotten bigger and bigger. As a result, food inflation has been very low. States can regulate the size of large farms, and truly large farms, also called mega-farms, are controversial. But there is no question that farms have become more productive as they have become larger and as technology has made farming less labor intensive.

Localism is best thought of as a marketing concept: there's a place for it, but it cannot and should not replace agribusiness.


Munith, Mich.
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Title Annotation:Forum
Author:Walker, Kevin
Publication:The American Conservative
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 2, 2008
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