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Most Americans, I suppose, do their grocery shopping in a grocery store.  Probably a chain, like Krogers, HEB, FoodTown or Pathmark.  Food is shipped to each store by truck and comes from a warehouse.  Before the warehouse, the stuff was in a factory.

The rising cost of gas means that the food you’re buying is going to become more expensive because they need to cover the rising costs of shipping.

At what point would it be more cost effective to not shop at a chain grocery store anymore?  When does it make more sense to buy produce from a local farmer, or meat from a local butcher? 

When it comes down to it, though, we’re a lazy bunch.  We’d rather have everything laid out for us in one spot then go to a bunch of different stores.  Sometimes it makes sense to do it that way.  You wouldn’t want to burn up a tank of gas just to do your weekly shopping.

With the proliferation of strip malls, many of which lay unused and empty, maybe there could be a better way.  If those empty stores could be rented out to local farmers, butchers, and bakers then everything could stay local and yet still be moderately convenient.

Maybe we’d be better off in the long run.  We could have a little less chemicals injected into our bodies through our food.  Since food would have less distance to travel it wouldn’t need all the preservatives and chemicals that we eat now.  Have you ever really read the label on the food you eat?  Do you even know what half of the stuff listed in the ingredients are? 

Would it be better to buy a bunch of ears of corn from a local farmer, beef from a local cattle rancher, and whatever else?  Would the rising gas prices (especially diesel) make it more cost effective for everyone in the long run?  Would it be more environmentally friendlier?  Would it be more inconvenient?

Is this something that we could use, I wonder.  If it would help us as a society in the long run by forcing us to slow down and be a little more patient wouldn’t that be better?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I think about them when I’m roving through my local grocery store.  I wonder why beef is so expensive; I work for a big computer company and yet, across the street, there are fields with a bunch of cows in them.  Why is beef so expensive?  Why is milk so expensive?  Do we have a shortage of chickens?  Are pigs rare animals?  Is a yellow bell pepper made of gold? 

If I didn’t live in suburbia I’d try growing my own damn bell peppers.  But people are stacked on top of people and there isn’t room, even though there’s plenty of land.  Again, that’s convenience talking.  I wouldn’t be able to afford the gas to get to work if I lived further away from my job. 

At what point does all of this break?