Impact


Revitalizing The Community We Live In

localized economies

The rise of globalization brought the death of US manufacturing, and with it the rapid decay of many cities across the US.

However, what is left out of this storyline is the role that our broken industrial food supply chain played in their decline, and the perpetuation of their socioeconomic issues.

Verdant family farms and vibrant localized food economies gave way to centralized, corporate controlled, and government subsidized, industrial operations, creating a massive physical and emotional disconnect with the origins of our food.

  In today’s convoluted industrial system, it is estimated that the average distance from farm to fork is 1,500 miles. This great distribution distance accounts for over 50% of total production costs. As a result, farmers are spending up to $1 per a $2 head of lettuce on transportation, and consumers are buying produce that is 5-6 days old with diminished nutrients. Congruently, according to the NRDC, 40% of produce perishes during long-haul distribution. This physical distance not only equates to excessive carbon emissions, it also fuels an emotional disconnect with the origins of our food and its inherent value.

 

In today’s convoluted industrial system, it is estimated that the average distance from farm to fork is 1,500 miles. This great distribution distance accounts for over 50% of total production costs. As a result, farmers are spending up to $1 per a $2 head of lettuce on transportation, and consumers are buying produce that is 5-6 days old with diminished nutrients. Congruently, according to the NRDC, 40% of produce perishes during long-haul distribution. This physical distance not only equates to excessive carbon emissions, it also fuels an emotional disconnect with the origins of our food and its inherent value.

Eating is an agricultural act,’ as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world - and what is to become of it. To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction.
— Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

It is easy to ignore these issues. However, from producer to consumer, we all share responsibility in the sustainability of our food system. In the words of Wendell Berry, "Eating is an agricultural act," or the late Brother David Andrews, "eating is a moral act," and Michael Pollan adds, "It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too." Ultimately, these quotes underline the core principle that food is much more than a vehicle for bodily nutrients; it is a profound microcosm of humanity's relationship with the natural world. Thus, we must educate our communities to be active consumers and vote honest and sustainable food with every dollar at the cash register.

At UP we believe that local production for a local market fosters a more intimate connection between the origins of our food. We also strive to challenge our perceptions of who is a farmer and what is a farm as our complex global food system evolves.