Last month, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a pair of back-to-back stories about local groups that turn unused land into sustainably grown food. The centerpiece of both stories was a description of MyFarm, a business that specializes in backyard micro-farms.
"MyFarm installation costs $600 to $1,000, and maintenance costs $20 to $35 per week, depending on the garden's size, and includes weeding, harvesting and composting," according to one of the Chronicle pieces. Better still, this is one case where a larger project actually costs less: "[Customers] who opt to have larger gardens installed pay a smaller weekly fee and provide food to customers who, eventually, will be able to order a weekly vegetable delivery collected from MyFarm backyards."
Sounds pretty appealing, especially to those of us who spend a pretty penny on produce at the farmers' market or a CSA delivery. But soon came the backlash.
Last week, the New York Times ran its own article on microfarming-for-hire and other ways of getting local food without growing it yourself, branding those who choose these services "lazy locavores". Perhaps even more divisively, they quoted Corby Kummer, the increasingly controversial Slow Food board member and food writer: "The highest form of luxury is now growing it yourself or paying other people to grow it for you. This has become fashion."
The Grinder wraps up the rapid-fire rebuttals quite nicely, questioning why eating sustainably grown food should have to involve sacrifice and self-denial. The Grinder quotes uber-locavore Barbara Kingsolver, who's downright ecstatic that eating locally is becoming easier: "I cant tell you how joyful it makes me to hear that its trendy for people in Manhattan to own a part of a cow." And all around the blogosphere, many voices are resoundingly annoyed by the Times' cavalier attitude. Most echo the sentiments of Eat the City: "Maybe you dont have the patience or the 'green thumb,' or maybe you're just too busy. There are other ways to contribute to a healthy food system than by growing your own food."
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