Pacific Northwest | March 14, 2004Pacific Northwest MagazineMarch 14, home
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Eating locally

I was dismayed to read Lynda V. Mapes' article in Sunday's Seattle Times magazine ("It's What's for Dinner," Feb. 8) in which she categorizes people's food choices as originating either from the moral high ground or the cheese-whiz equivalent. The piece does a huge disservice to all of us who try to make informed decisions in our lives and insults the ever-increasing numbers of consumers who are choosing to buy local, organic and sustainably produced food.

Mapes fails to address the underlying issues that affect food choices — issues that are leading increasingly large numbers of consumers to choose locally grown — a desire to build community, improve the environment and their health.

One of the most obvious benefits of local food production is that farms are "economic engines" and contribute to a diversity of job and income opportunities in the region. Buying locally benefits the local economy with farm production and food dollars circulating locally rather than supporting out-of-state or international corporations.

Farmland generates far more in tax revenues than it generates in public-service costs. The presence of farmlands helps reduce the overall tax burden in a community. Our food choices can affect this relationship. Preserving farmland and farming represents the best opportunity for salmon protection and protection of environmental values. Eating locally supports these benefits.

A local food supply translates to lower environmental costs, reduced energy and transportation costs, and a safer and more secure food supply. Dependency on far-away food sources leaves us vulnerable to supply disruptions and removes any real accountability of producer to consumer.

— Mary E. Embleton
Executive Director
Cascade Harvest Coalition

Food for thought

You have a gem in staff member Lynda V. Mapes! Her article ("It's What's for Dinner," Feb. 8) was entertaining and informative. Her writing style was pleasing and educated. The article included just enough information to be provocative and enough tongue-in-cheek humor to please a jaded Times reader. Put Lynda in Dave Barry's place, he's getting long in the tooth!

— Jann Messer
Whidbey Island

Write on

I wanted to take this opportunity to indicate my appreciation for the writing of William Dietrich in Pacific Northwest magazine. I look forward to his articles and have recently been pleasantly surprised to see the breadth of subject matter that he has written on. My appreciation of his writing had earlier developed with the focus of his articles on the environment, natural resources and Northwest growth issues. More recently his articles have included biographical subjects, and the recent article on Seattle and Boeing indicate his capability on a broader scale.

The recent article of Dietrich's on Seattle and Boeing ("A Marriage in Peril," Jan. 25) was clever, entertaining and still contained much information of interest. William Dietrich knows how to grab your attention while still providing interesting and useful information. Thank you for providing a means for us to enjoy his writing regularly.

— Alan Fritzberg
Olga, San Juan County

Letters to the editor are welcome. Write Editor, Pacific Northwest magazine, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111, or e-mail and in either case include a telephone number for verification.

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