Every Friday morning starting at 7am the Venice Library parking lot fills up tents of produce, natural products, coffee, seafood, and flowers. This past Friday I picked up some taramasalata and black bean jalapeño humus from the mediterranean tent. The strawberries came from my regular supermarket, Sprouts, also locally driven, and the pita bread was a contribution from a neighbor. Using only these three ingredients I made myself a kind of wonderful ad hoc brunch feast spread out on the coffee table. The salty, creamy taramasalata is one of the most fantastic creations I have ever had, simply because I cannot get enough of that smoked salmon, caviar, salted fish flavor. It is not for everyone, but it is for me. The pita was really just a vehicle, and the strawberries were the perfect tart contrast. Not terribly involved or complicated, it was that much more satisfying. I am certainly not one to say no to a big breakfast spread, but sometimes, on a Friday morning, simpler is better.
The market is also only a short block away, making it the most convenient grocery shopping I have every done, and while it is grower local and supposedly organic, its affordability is debatable. Most would likely say that the point is that it is sans middle man, and locally sourced, so therefore the price is the price, and it certainly will not be cheaper at Whole Foods. And while this may be true, I would say that this is not the whole point and certainly not the whole picture. Ideally the premiere organic and local food distributed at farmer’s markets and luxury grocers would be accessible to people of mixed income, similar to what’s being done with new-urban housing. However, the reality is that we live in an economy. The small farmer’s that are growing organically and distributing locally need to make a profit over their investment, and just like ‘made in the U.S.’ products, their produce is automatically going to be more valuable than the artificially fertilized, imported GMO’s because they are not taking the cheap way out.
Thus, we come to a seemingly unresolvable impasse and face one of our most relevant contemporary socio-economic conundrums. How can luxury organic produce become universally accessible? Is it possible to become a purely locally supported society? Would it save us? or would it collapse the world economy? And what is local?