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Mark has been a supporter of organic agriculture and an avid eater of organically-raised foods for most of his adult life. He joined forces with the folks at Organic Maple Co-op in the early summer of 2010. In Organic Maple Leaf Rag he explores the meaning and importance of the word “organic,” in food and agriculture. He also looks into the small world of organic maple syrup, and the daily activities of the Co-op. Both author and Co-op are based in Cashton, Wisconsin – a village whose weight in the organic-agriculture movement is disproportionate to its size.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Local Sourcing

I was speaking today with a store manager here in the Midwest who noted that his store carries only local-source maple syrup. So he is not stocking the big brands.

Maple Valley is not among the biggest of brands — but we are undoubtedly bigger than the local syrup-producers in the region around that Indiana store.

I am wholly supportive of this local emphasis, even when it means the Maple Valley brand cannot find a place on the shelves of a store or two.

Organic Maple Co-op is founded on the notion that small-scale farmers matter, and that measures should be taken to help them succeed. If a small farmer has a local market, she or he should by all means capitalize upon it, and provide people with a product that is farmed, prepared, filtered and bottled nearby.

In recent decades, the whole-foods movement has begun to recognize the importance of local-emphasis ... despite the fact that the food-basket state, California, which has played so important a role in raising national awareness of whole foods and organic foods, would prefer to hold onto its status as the nation’s provider.

In the area of sustainable agriculture, the local emphasis is absolutely vital. Given the fact that our transportation system will undergo massive changes in coming decades, any system of food production or distribution that relies upon energy-intensive vehicles and upon the current transportation superstructure cannot be called truly sustainable.

This is a big-picture point of view — which is the point of view that interests me most.

At Organic Maple Co-op we are about to address the local-emphasis issue, for the region in which our blending-bottling plant is located. About that, I will have more to say ... before too long.

Cheers ...

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