Big Boxes, Little Boxes, And Farmland Protection

Reforming farm subsidies can slow sprawl and trim waistlines.
June 25, 2004, 12pm PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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Every day Americans buy groceries at Wal-Mart supercenters and other hypermarkets built on what used to be farmland. There’s rich irony in the thought of food centers pushing out food producers that is only heightened by the fact that inside those big blocks of concrete and fluorescent lights are cheap replicas of the wholesome food that once grew right below where their slab foundations now sit. The reason families have come to confuse these industrial foods for the real, nutritious thing parallels the reason communities keep putting parking lots on top of fertile fields. The common cause of America’s current appetite for both junk foods and expressways dominated by chain-store billboards is a distortion of the free market that makes tasty foods from nearby farms difficult to find and afford.

Thanks to Keith Schneider

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Published on Friday, June 25, 2004 in Michigan Land Use Institute
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