Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The key problem- no food processing left in Oregon

Or at least, so says Sharon Thornberry of the Oregon Food Bank. She brought up things I didn't know about our free market system: like the small town of Fields near Steens Mountain in Southeastern Oregon, where the local grocer is often worse stocked than the food bank because he has to make a 400 mile round trip to get groceries for his store. Nobody will deliver anything to him, he has to go to Bend or Idaho to get food. Umatila County is the same way- plenty of beef, but not a single slaughterhouse, so getting ground beef for the grocery store or the food bank is very expensive.

This gives me two things: One, when I start my roundtable at St. Clare's for Knights of Columbus, one of the first charity acts I'm going to propose is to use the money from our recruiting breakfast to buy/build window box gardens for St. Vincent De Paul's food banks at St. Clare's and St. Anthony's, to be given away to anybody who has a source of water and a south facing window or balcony or small lawn. Second, a whole new argument for distributism in Oregon; we're an agricultural state and we can't feed the poor because we can't get the food processed where the poor work to raise our food? I've seen it myself with my family's grass fed organic beef- no mobile slaughter left in the Willamette Valley either, and the slaughterhouses are few and are shutting down in favor of plants in third world countries (how they get the beef THERE I'll never know) like Brazil, which have fewer environmental controls.

The only answer for the rural people in the article though, is for some smart enterprising butcher to move to Eastern Oregon specifically to process local food for local sale. Seems to me that is hunting country also; and the same butcher could probably make as much off of local kills of deer and elk as beef. If capitalism was allowed to work the way it should, anyway, instead of being gobbled up into collectivism and corporatism.

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Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
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