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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

The Locavore's Dilemma: Why Pineapples Shouldn't Be Grown in North Dakota

• EconLib / Jayson Lusk, Bailey Norwood
Oklahoma's government, like those of 45 other states, funds a farm-to-school program encouraging cafeterias to buy their food from local sources. U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) wants to help; she recently introduced the Eat Local Foods Act (HR 5806) to assist schools in providing local foods in school lunches. From Michelle Obama's White House garden to grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative, an agenda has emerged to give local foods more prominence on our dinner plates. Interestingly, no agricultural economist has informed the public that a key claim of local-food advocates—that local-food purchases enhance the local economy—violates the core economic principles taught in every introductory economics class. Until now. 

We are not against consumers choosing to buy local food, and indeed, we both regularly stroll through our local farmers' market. What we find disturbing is the state or federal policy agenda on local foods and the almost complete silence of agricultural economists on its adverse consequences.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Tommie Taylor
Entered on:

I wonder if the author feels the same about factories.  If several large factories moved into Phoenix, Arizona who manufactured say various solar products that people would buy, including local people, and that situation allowed the factories to hire local people who could then afford to shop locally and internationally, would that hurt the Phoenix economy?


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