What I Wrote Today and Why #4

Wondering today if we have no sense of place when it comes to food. Joel Kotkin’s book, The New Geography, suggests that shopping malls have created a commercial landscape of sameness. You can be anywhere and nowhere, in terms of an authentic location. A Macy’s in Columbus, Ohio is the same as the one in Orlando, Florida. Has this sameness created a placelessness in our culture? Is our new insistence that food be grown locally coming from a yearning for place?

Those shopping malls are good at selling at scale. Their bigness delivers more organic produce to more people at lower costs. Can that be all bad? The downside is the homogenization of place and space. Is there a way to get both low prices, a sense of place, and a personal connection with food producers?

I wrote more about the flexibility of food supply chains. They do flex, almost all the time. But what are the limits of its infamous flexibility? The food supply chain adapts to multiple, dynamic forces, such as consumer demand, weather, commodity prices, marketing campaigns, health advisories, and more. One kink and the whole chain feels it.

The meat supply chain flexs as developing countries acquire a taste for meat. They want meat without antibiotics. How does the food system remove antibiotics from the supply chain? What happens to all the animals that were raised using antibiotics? Do farmers lose more livestock to disease because of these changes in animal husbandry, not to mention wifery.

Coffee farmers are moving to new altitudes to compensate for warming temperatures. Each of these changes cause the supply chain to adapt. More to learn here, and finding it’s second nature for the supply chain to adapt.

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