I am Sparagus!

September 2010

Don't buy Peruvian asparagus:

…industrial production of asparagus in Peru's Ica valley is depleting the area's water resources so fast that smaller farmers and local families are finding wells running dry. Water to the main city in the valley is also under threat, [the study] says. It warns that the export of the luxury vegetable, much of it to British supermarkets, is unsustainable in its current form.

How Peru's wells are being sucked dry by British love of asparagus

We need some kind of list of good/bad imports. Does Fair Trade take environmental concerns into account, or is it just about paying the farmers fairly? Externalities – where costs are pushed outside of the chain of supply – are a big issue, and as far as I'm aware Fair Trade is only concerned with justice within the chain.

(Externalities would include water use, pollution/emissions, ‘food miles,’ and export pricing putting foods out of reach of those dependent on them – like the corn-for-biofuel food crises of a few years ago.)

Henry commented:

Farce-trade you say... imo: the single greatest guilt-free way to perpeuate slavery, and the beauty of it is, that you dont't even need to import shiploads of fragil human cargo. You just dangle the carrot of material/capital "wealth" and use loads of petrol shipping the results around the globe. The spirit behind the system is a nice idea, but as er usual, opportunistic human effluent have warped it to their own benefit. FTO CEOS who have a Lexus/BMW/Audi suv in the garage raise your (bloodsoaked) hands.

[Rant over] -Henry