Tag Archives: Midwestern United States

An amazing statistic re local vegetables

A friend passed this along to me. I thought it a nice change of pace. Thanks Elizabeth. (E)

TYWKIWDBI (“Tai-Wiki-Widbee”)

“Things You Wouldn’t Know If We Didn’t Blog Intermittently.”

Source: http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2010/05/amazing-statistic-re-local-vegetables.html

09 May 2010
My maternal grandparents were farmers; if they were alive today, I have no doubt they would be dumbfounded to walk into a grocery store in Minnesota or Wisconsin and see vegetables that have been shipped in from Arizona (or South America).

As you drive through this part of the country, what you see nowadays is corn.  Then more corn.  Then still more corn.  I used to drive on a regular basis from Madison, Wisconsin to Toledo, Ohio and quite frankly there were few moments in the entire trip when a cornfield was not within view.   That is not corn-on-the-cob-for-dinner corn.  That’s corn to feed cattle and corn to export and corn to be broken down into various components.  For those unfamiliar with the situation, the movie “Food, Inc.” is a good place to start.

With that in mind, note these comments in an article in the Wisconsin State Journal this week:

The Midwest is known more for growing corn than cauliflower, but if its farmers raised the fruit and vegetables eaten in the Heartland, they could create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in income, according to a recent study.

The study from Iowa State University looked at what would happen if farmers in six Midwestern states – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin – raised 28 crops in quantities large enough to meet local demand. It found that if an ample supply of produce could be grown regionally, it would spur $882 million in sales, more than 9,300 jobs and about $395 million in labor income

Growing enough food to meet regional demand also wouldn’t take much land, Miller said: “That’s one of the wild things about it _ you can grow a lot on a few number of acres. Anyone who has a garden knows this.”

How few acres? One of Iowa’s 99 counties could meet the demand for all six states, said Rich Pirog, associate director for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State.

The study included apricots, asparagus, mustard greens, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, peaches, cabbage, pears, cantaloupe, plums, carrots, raspberries, cauliflower, snap beans, collard greens, spinach, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, strawberries, garlic, sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes, watermelon and lettuce – both leaf and head.

Crops such as pumpkins, apples and cherries weren’t included in the study because the Midwest already grows enough of them to meet local and regional demand. Corn, as well as soybeans, are considered grains, not produce…

The advent of commodity payment programs in the 1930s, the development of refrigerated trucks and the interstate highway system, and a hodge-podge of other policies encouraged farmers to grow crops where it could be done most efficiently.

It won’t be easy now for farmers to switch to other crops, Swenson said. Expertise in the Midwest tends to be in livestock or commodity crops such as corn and soybeans, not produce. The states don’t have policies to encourage expanded fruit and vegetable production, and many consumers don’t think much about where their produce is grown…

Let me repeat the most striking statistic in a larger font:

One of Iowa’s 99 counties could meet the demand for all six states

The farmland in just ONE county could provide all the veggies needed by the people of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois.

And still we ship our carrots thousands of miles.  Incredible.

Support your local farmers’ market.

US Nearing 50% Supporting Marijuana Legalization, Poll Finds


by Phillip Smith, October 28, 2010, 05:58pm, (Issue #656)

Though the fate of California’s Prop 19 remains unknown for a few more days, majority support in the US for marijuana legalization appears to be just a few days away. An all-time high of 46% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. The number opposed to legalization dropped to an all-time low of 50%. Support increased from 44% last year, continuing an upward trend in the past decade.

time is on our sideSupport for legalization was at 12% in a Gallup poll in 1969 and climbed to 28% in 1978, then stayed flat at about 25% throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s. By 2001, support had climbed to 31%, by 2004 it was at 34%, by 2006 it was at 36%. Since then, support has grown by 10 points to 46%.

“If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years,” Gallup noted in its discussion of the poll results.

Pot legalization scored majority support among liberals (79%), 18-to-29-year-olds (61%), Westerners (58%), Democrats (55%), independents (54%), men (51%) and moderates (51%). It did least well among Republicans (29%), conservatives (30%), and people over 65 (32%)

Support varied among regions, from the West’s high of 58% to 47% in the East, 42% in the Midwest, and 41% in the South.

The poll also asked about support for medical marijuana and found that 70% of Americans supported it. But that figure is down from 75% in 2003 and 78% in 2005.

The poll was based on live cell phone and land line interviews conducted October 7-10 with a random sample of 1,025 adults. Each question was asked of a half-sample of approximately 500 respondents. The margin of sampling error was +/-5 percentage points.

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