Maybe we can be the Hardwick, VT of South Dakota one day (read “How Food Saved a Town“). Local Foods is the real deal (just ask Mike), and it’s a serious opportunity for us in small towns–to feed surrounding communities, to live healthier lives, and to re-connect with this land and it’s [sic] bounty in new-old sacred ways [Joe Bartmann, "Montrose, South Dakota: Local Foods Mecca," bartblog, 2010.06.27].
The strongest, most lasting economic development we can generate is business owned and operated by local people, using locally available resources to produce locally consumable goods and services. Local foods don't require expensive government subsidies to attract fickle investors who have no interest in South Dakota beyond the hope of exploiting our tax and labor laws and inflating their profits. Local foods don't depend on far-flung buyers and suppliers. Local foods keep the dollar cycle entirely in South Dakota.
And best of all, local foods make more local families and producers the captains of their own destiny, making their living on the land they love.
Update 11:00 CDT: Editor and legislator Bernie Hunhoff notes that the growth of the local foods movement depends in part on the government regulations that promote or throttle it. Hunhoff cites the upcoming labeling rules for farmers market vendors to be discussed at a Legislative Rules Committee meeting next month. These rules arise from the really important HB 1222, which Hunhoff and his Pierre associates enacted into law this year.
Perhaps related to another of this morning's posts: is there something funny going on when our Legislature works to ensure that proper labeling and safety regulations are maintained for South Dakota-made food but votes to strip all federal regulation from South Dakota-made firearms? I feel a guns-or-butter argument coming on....