Thursday, May 01, 2008

Boycott Grocery Stores?

Buy produce from local farmers rather than at the grocery store. Not only will your foods be fresher, they won't have made a gas-guzzling cross-country journey just to get to you.
(Source: Kiplinger - Going Green on the Cheap)

Environmentalists are idealists.

They tell us to buy produce from local farmers rather than from grocery stores. The idea is that grocery stalls may get its produce from distant farms, thus contributing to higher level of carbon dioxide emission.

Consider this hypothetical example: The nearest grocery store from your home is 1 km away. The nearest farm is 20 km away. Are you going to drive all the way to the farm to make your purchase?

Next, assume that the grocery store purchases 100 kg of vegetables from a distant farm that is 50 km away. You drive to the nearest farm20 km from your home – to buy 2 kg of veggies. Are you sure you have helped to reduced CO2 emission?

Further assume that you are a very busy person. You work from 9am to 7pm everyday, and are stuck in traffic jam for up to 2 hours. On weekend you attend part time MBA class. Where do you prefer to do your shopping?

Assume again that your sibling owns a grocery store. Do you support the call by the environmentalists to buy directly from farmers?

While we may buy produce fresh from farm, we may store them in refrigerator for up to a week. In the end we are still not eating them fresh. Remember that we drive 20km to get to the nearest farm. We are not going to buy just enough for the day.

Green campaigns have to be practical. They must balance the interests of multiple groups involved, including, in my example above, the grocery stores. Otherwise such campaigns will not win widespread support and doomed to fail.


  1. few yrs ago, when my mum still here v always can eat fresh vege.cox my mum planted all kind of various vege, my house is a small ned go grocery shop to buy.

    now ler...still can eat fresh vege ger..get them from my aunt.:)

  2. christine
    It's good to plant veggie at home. But I am too busy to do la... Some more I can walk to grocery store, so there is little incentive to drive to farm...

  3. hahahaaaa... everybody wants a perfect world
    but the world is never perfect in the first place
    well, i guess if we can, we just do our best, otherwise no point trying too hard ~

  4. 迷迭香
    I can walk to grocery store. If I "do my best" by driving to farm, I actually pollute the air more.

  5. There is certainly no single solution that suits everyone. We have to be flexible and do whatever makes sense. Use discretion, mah.

  6. The underlying problem that environmentalists failed to see is of course, overpopulation...that in turn created 'consumerism' in a massive proportion.

  7. happysurfer
    Agree with that we have to be flexible. But many environmentalists are angry people who criticize us for not following their 'commandments'.

    Wow... why suddenly become so serious?
    I wonder how many kids environmentalists have...

  8. Now, where am i going to find a farmer in my area...

  9. I totally agree with you. Environmentalist tend to be to idealistic. That's why I never dare to call myself an environmentalist. Some of my daily activities still harm the planet, but I works toward reducing it. We have to be practical and realistic in this issue.

  10. neo
    Most of us live in urban or suburban area. It is certainly to find a farm nearby.

    I guess even environmentalists can't run away from activities that contribute to global warming...

  11. I think you're taking this in a wrong context. Of course people won't drive all the way to a farm just to buy when a grocery's nearer.

    Driving all the way costs money and gas--that'll contribute to global warming, etc. etc. :)

  12. 宝茹
    I am not taking this in a wrong context. Most of us live in urban area, far away from farms.

  13. I reread the article again. There's nothing wrong with the suggestion. Probably the writer lives near farms.

  14. 宝茹
    It is possible that the writer lives near farms, but why should he/she preaches this lifestyle to urban folks? That's why I say environmentalists are too idealistic.

  15. If there is a farm nearby my place, then i won't mind buying fresh vege or fruits from there. But the nearest farm is so far away. So we still need to buy the our vege or fruits from the market or grocery stores :)

  16. chen
    I can actually walk to Giant. So I have even less incentive to drive to farm, unless I really want fresh veggie.