Tag Archives: United States

What’s with being a locavore anyway?

What’s with being a locavore anyway?

By Morgan Dolan

We have all heard of vegetarians, vegans, and those who only eat fruit that falls off of a tree. There is always a “why” behind their food choices – indeed, it seems that the decisions we make about our diets are inherently linked to beliefs that we have about food and the world we live in.

So where do so-called locavores fit into all that?

A locavore is typically someone who either exclusively or primarily eats foods from their own local or regional foodshed (traditionally within a 100-150 mile radius of home).

As a movement, locavorism advocates a preference for local products for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Local products travel a much less distance to the consumer, therefore using less fuel and generating less pollution
  • The shorter distribution chains also allow for less product wasted during distribution, storage, and merchandising
  • Local products are fresher, healthier, and use easy-to-recognize ingredients
  • Local products encourage diversification of local agriculture and recirculation of monetary capital within local economies
  • Local products also encourage the consumption of organic, GMO-free, and lab-manufactured chemical-free products

The good news is that you don’t need to “be” a locavore (or “be” anything) to acknowledge the benefits of a locavore lifestyle. You don’t need to give up imported cheese, wine, or start fanatically hunting down the origins of every product or consumable in your household.

To acknowledge the benefits of purchasing food and goods from your region or foodshed means that you think about how, prior to WWII, nearly two out of five Americans lived on farms. Food was much more locally grown and marketed. Rarely was food transported further than a day’s distance. After WWII our infrastructure expanded greatly, transportation costs decreased and refrigeration became more accessible. These changes allowed meats, produce, and other commercial products to be transported greater distances at competitive prices.

To think about how food lands on our tables, in our pantries, or how products come to be in our houses, means that we need to look at where we choose to shop. Recent trends in areas that were once vibrant and productive farmlands show that consumers are more and more often heading to supercenters like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Meijer’s for shopping. Convenience and low prices are the draw but this trend starves the local demand for local food and products. Products in these big box stores are primarily imported from countries with low production costs – and the current business model specifically strives to keep them low.

You don’t need to “be” a locavore to conscious of where your dollars are going and what you are choosing to pay for. Furthermore you wouldn’t be alone: Nearly 80% of respondents in a 2006 national survey said they occasionally to always purchased fresh produce directly from growers.

This increased demand is creating opportunities for farmers and growers to expand their marketing channels. Local foods are being sold through farmer’s markets, roadside stands, winter markets, food co-ops, CSAs (community supported agricultural groups), supermarkets, specialty stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more. CSAs increased from 60 in 1990 to 1150 in 2007. In a similar period, farmers markets went from 1500 to over 4500.

We at the General Store want you to be yourself. Rather than asking you to “be” a locavore, we would rather you just take a minute to think about where your money goes and what it supports. We are trying to bring more and more people’s daily needs under one roof so that you will be able to shop at one place, to get everything you need, and support the Pacific Northwest at the same time.

Sources:

“The Growing Locavore Movement: A Ripe Opportunity.” 2012. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://geometrx.com/2012/05/the-growing-locavore-movement-a-ripe-opportunity/>

Martinez, Steve. Local food systems; concepts, impacts, and issues. Diane Publishing, 2010.

“Plenty Magazine – Environmental News and Commentary.” 2009. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://www.plentymag.com/blogs/ecoeats/2009/01/some_interesting_locavore_stat_print.php>

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Tax Burden in U.S. Not as Heavy as It Looks, Report Says

Tax Burden in U.S. Not as Heavy as It Looks, Report Says

“…“Despite the claims of corporate apologists, international business ‘competitiveness’ has nothing to do with the reasons for these deals,” he writes. “Whether one measures effective marginal or overall tax rates, sophisticated U.S. multinational firms are burdened by tax rates that are the envy of their international peers.”

What? We’ve been told repeatedly that the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world — 35 percent — which is higher than the nominal tax rates in places like Ireland (12.5 percent), Britain (21 percent) and the Netherlands (25 percent) and the 24.1 percent average rate of all countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

All of that’s true, but Professor Kleinbard contends that most United States multinational companies don’t pay anywhere near 35 percent. Companies paid, on average, 12.6 percent, according to the Government Accountability Office, which last measured it in 2010, by deliberately stashing piles of cash abroad…”

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25% of American Workers Are Getting Screwed Out of an Important Benefit

25% of American Workers Are Getting Screwed Out of an Important Benefit

“…In the 1990s, 82% of private sector workers had some form of paid vacation, compared to just 77% now. Counting state and local government workers (at a dismal 59% rate), the total percentage of civilians who receive at least one paid vacation day is just 74%. Under half of the lowest quarter of earners get paid time off…”

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Why Are Men Leaving The American Workforce?

Why Are Men Leaving The American Workforce?

“…As might be expected, economists don’t agree on why so many men have left the workforce. Some possible factors they cite: There’s less of a stigma today if a man doesn’t work. Union clout has declined. More men are in early retirement receiving disability benefits. New technology has eliminated manufacturing jobs. And competition from abroad moved others overseas.

Autor says many service sector jobs that remain — in restaurants and retail, for example — don’t pay as well as the factory jobs that disappeared.

And with so many men in the prime of life missing from the workforce it can’t help but take a toll on the economy, Eberstadt says.

“The country is going to be less rich. They’re going to be less rich. Growth is going to be slower. It’s going to have really bad effects on wealth differences in the United States,” he says.

So what can be done? Certainly more education and better education would make a difference. But that’s a profound, long-term challenge. David Autor says there’s one smaller fix that would help — expand the earned income tax credit. It’s a subsidy that supports low-income workers when they find jobs and keep them. Right now, it primarily benefits women and children rather than single men.”

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One Man’s Hospital Bill Shows Just How Screwed Up America’s Health Care System Is

One Man’s Hospital Bill Shows Just How Screwed Up America’s Health Care System Is

The news: New Jersey man Baer Hanusz-Rajkowski recently found out the hard way that the cost of American medicine is totally out of control. Two days after slicing his finger open on the claw end of a hammer, Hanusz-Rajkowski sought medical attention at Bayonne Medical Center’s emergency room when the cut didn’t seem to be healing.

After a brisk visit in which Hanusz-Rajkowski did not see a doctor and did not receive stitches, he got a bill in the mail for $9,000. Essentially, Bayonne charged him months’ worth of pay for some gauze and a tetanus shot.

Here’s the breakdown:

– $8,200 for visiting the E.R.

– $180 for a tetanus shot

– $242 for “sterile supplies” (presumably, the bandage)

– $8 for antibacterial ointment

– Hundreds more for a few moments of the nurse practitioner’s time.

This is all after insurance…”

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“A teacher in Finland explains why her country’s…”

Source: Waiting for “Superman”

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One GIF Shows the Hellscape America Would Become If We Legalize Marijuana

Graphic by Chris Walker. Data from the New America Foundation and the Cato Institute. Both figures in 2011 dollars.

“Far from tearing apart the social fabric of America, as some opponents say, legalizing marijuana could be exactly what’s needed to rebuild our communities.

Take a look at the GIF above. Legalizing marijuana would create a whopping $18.1 billion annually in government funds. That’s right, 18 BILLION. With that money, we could guarantee universal access to pre-K education for every single child.

In case there’s any doubt about how much that could benefit the country, consider this: Universal pre-K would be transformational for American public education. 

Last year a Harvard study found that pre-K education improved “children’s language, literacy, math, executive function (the ability to regulate, control, and manage one’s thinking and actions), and emotional development.” Pre-k puts more kids on track to succeed down the road.

And the benefits reach far into adulthood. In another study, University of Minnesota researchers found that people were less likely to have been arrested or incarcerated 25 years after participating in a pre-K program, compared to people who hadn’t gone through pre-K.

The methodology: The $18.1 billion figure comes from a Cato Institute report, which takes into account savings from no longer enforcing prohibition, as well as from new marijuana sales tax revenue. Cato assumes marijuana would be taxed at similar rates as alcohol and tobacco.

Meanwhile, government needs an additional $15.4 billion annually to make pre-K access universal, according to the New America Foundation. Keep in mind we’re talking about universal access to pre-K, not compulsory pre-K. Therefore the New America Foundation estimates roughly 75% of 4-year-olds would actually participate if pre-K access were universal.

Still, 75% is a massive improvement from 28%—the percentage enrolled last year—according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. Having universal access to pre-K this year would have translated to 2 million more 4-year-olds participating in pre-K programs.

The math is simple: The example of Colorado, which has already generated $34 million in marijuana tax revenue this year, proves that when marijuana is legalized, society doesn’t degenerate into drug-induced anarchy.

Legalization creates much-needed funds for government. As the financials above show, society as a whole can reap substantial benefits.

Technical Note: The New America Foundation presents its figures in 2011 dollars. The Cato Institute figure has been adjusted to 2011 dollars.

Graphic created with code open-sourced by Dan Foreman-Mackey.”

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