Our Local Food Economy

There is a great guest column in today's N&O by former Congressperson Eva Clayton on the importance and potential of local agriculture.

Here in Orange County, we have made some admirable moves in support of a strong local food economy. In fact, we may have one of the strongest local food networks in the region. Yet there is much more we can do.

One problem that we face is the schizophrenic nature of our collective vision. We craft statements of sustainable economic development  and generally elect leaders who espouse these principles. Yet we continually find ourselves involved in controversies that wouldn't really make the cut if our stated commitment to sustainable economics had an effective filter.

The latest example is UNC's stated goal to site an airport in rural Orange County, land that is most suited for sustainable local food production. To add to the schizophrenia, our progressive County Commissioners have an Economic Development Director, Brad Broadwell, who is an avid and public supporter of UNC's airport proposal.

These issues raise many questions about how we navigate toward a truly sustainable future, which necessarily will involve more local food production, while taming the wild beast of business-as-usual that continues to exert strong countervailing pressure. 

This is arguably the most important issue that we face in Orange County. How do we preserve and enhance the tender shoots of sustainability in our schizophrenic community?



I look forward to the responses.Thanks,Mark

One thing that I find confusing in all of these debates is that there is a call for greater density in urban areas, but actions that seem to be designed to bring development further and further away from the core. As someone who benefits from produce from local farms, I get worried when eminent domain can be used in areas that are basically rural. How can you condemn a farm - an active business in the public interest? To my knowledge, noone has suggested that...yet.  I guess I get worried when we start deciding better uses for rural land than those the people who live on, tend and own the land. Mark makes a great point that we need to support the diversity of our land use as an integral part of what makes Orange County unique. 

Marc writes:

To add to the schizophrenia, our progressive County Commissioners have an Economic Development Director, Brad Broadwell, who is an avid and public supporter of UNC's airport proposal.

Would it not be more accurate and intellectually honest to say something like, "In spite of his protest to the contrary, I think Brad Broadwell is an avid and public supporter of UNCs airport proposal?" Mark Schultz in his 12/08/09 Blog states, that:

Brad Broadwell, Orange County's economic development director, says he has no opinion on a new UNC-led airport because he still has too many questions about it.


Broadwell says he's just doing his job. He's never said the county should build an airport, only that airports have the potential to create good-paying jobs. "There are no middle-class industries here," he says. "This is a chance to do it."


"Just because I ask these questions people see me as advocating something," Broadwell says. "I just want a discussion."

For those who haven't been following the entire story, Broadwell came out early and strong for the airport. And there is no evidence that he has changed his tune. Especially considering that, in his former job in Maryland, his major project was siting an airport.At the Annual State of the Economy Breakfast, he surprised many when much of his remarks to the crowd focused on the wonderful benefits that an airport would bring. After feedback from the citizens on this and his strong support communicated via the press , the Commissioners appropriately prevailed upon him to pull back & thus we heard the predictable circumspect comments cited above.  


Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.