More volcano, Less green beans

April 20, 2010

I’ve written before about how the “eat local” movement just doesn’t attract me too much while I live in London. Unless I want my family to subsist on parsnips, cabbage and tasteless strawberries, we absolutely must eat things that are not grown not only locally, but also not in the UK. The whole volcano vs. the modern world phenomenon might be putting an end to that though. A large percent of the produce and other food items sold in the UK arrive here on airplanes. And of course, there are no airplanes arriving to the UK at the moment (except, this morning, to a select part of the northern most Scottish islands).

As an illustrative anecdote, yesterday all of the green beans normally available from my on-line grocers were “temporarily out of stock.” That’s because almost all the “fine” and “extra fine” green beans sold in the UK are imported from just two countries: Kenya and Zimbabwe. And of course getting those beans to the UK takes an airplane (or two). I’m starting to wonder if the three browning bananas I have on my kitchen counter will soon have an exorbitant value on the black market (seeing as most bananas come from Ecuador, Costa Rica and several other Latin American countries, and I suspect are air freighted rather than shipped the old fashion way – i.e. on a ship). Perhaps my aging bananas will have as exorbitant a value as a colleague’s Eurostar ticket to Brussels (which he purchased pre-volcano):  this morning he was considering selling it to some desperate “volcano exile” sitting in London St Pancras station at a mark up of 900%…


3 Responses to “More volcano, Less green beans”

  1. Natalie said

    I think that is an excellent idea about the bananas. Pop them in the freezer for 2 more days and the value will go up! I’m a big supporter of eating locally, although I have admittedly failed to think outside of the box and didn’t consider people who live in places like the UK and Antarctica (drastic, I know). I hope things clear up over there so traffic and life can resume.

  2. LMP said

    Thanks to a friend, a NYTimes piece on the impact of the volcano on the Kenyan agricultural export market. They’re losing $3 million a day, and jobs, while produce and flowers are being thrown away.

  3. Dear Dr. Phillips,

    I love the insights you provide in your blog,
    they definitely help me think about the issues in a different and more comprehensive way.

    However, I do wonder why you suddenly stopped in April of 2010…

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