I have been curious about Michigan Farm Raised Shrimp for a while now ever since I read that there was a farm being started about 60 miles from Ann Arbor in Okemos, MI. So when I saw local shrimp for sale at Arbor Farms, the only grocery where I have seen them, I immediately bought some. They were mid size probably 25-30 count per pond, but the farm is also raising larger ones.
So how were they? Great, and different. The word the fam used was clean. These shrimp were fresh with shrimp flavor, but not what I was used too. I can’t account why the shrimp were different, but they were. Maybe this was the first time I had truly fresh shrimp, and this is what they really taste like. This is like being a new gardener and having your first fresh, picked that day potato, after years of having months old storage crops.
More than just a local food novelty, this local shrimp farm represents food security given the recent tragic events of the oil spill in the gulf, which threatens to destroy America’s shrimp, oyster, and other seafood industries. I can’t help but feel that we were trading risky cheap oil extraction for the seafood industry down there. In the end, the financial loss of the $6 billion annual seafood industry alone, not including tourism will be massive.
As a food lover, and lover of the environment, my heart sinks with the continuing bad news of this disaster. The “booms” did not work in Alaska or in the Gulf to prevent oil from reaching the shore, and the other methods we keep hearing “Have never been tried before at these depths.” Great, so BP set up an oil pipeline a mile under water, 40 mile from the coastline without a clue of how to fix it? But, I bet they knew much they could sell the oil for.
This oil spill is a trade off in the name of creating a cheap commodity. In the end, we all may lose out on the economic and environmental impact which could persist indefinitely.
The word capitalism has been thrown around as a political and even patriotic football lately. Especially on the the political right, which interestingly are the leanings of the Gulf coast states. My question is if people are going to declare their political allegiance to big C “Capitalism,” meaning the huge multinational kind like BP, then will they also “own” up the the reality of the oil spill, and all of the trade offs to sustainable resources that short term thinking, and lax regulation creates? The any government, hands off my fill in the blank arguments don’t sound so passionate and deviant when it is the same big/small government whose laws and regulations should have prevented this from happening, and will make sure the parties responsible will pay for the mess. Maybe this event will be a wake up call to the political right that protecting the environment is not just for “Anti-business, un-American, liberal tree huggers.”
Obviously, BP did not have safeguards in place. In effect, they were gambling our coast lines, seafood, tourist industry, and a life time of sustainable ecology, and natural resources. And for what? I few months of worth of heating oil and gas for our cars. Like the Wall Street folks, who gambled with our financial future, now they are gambling massively with our natural resources. This is the ultimate fallout in my opinion to the era of deregulation or lax regulation, which is typified by the all too popular catch phrase by the previous administration, “Industry Voluntary Regulation.”
Without governments to look after our interests with strong laws and regulations, and not the quick multinational buck, we see what we get.
Is having some regulation in place to prevent America’s greatest ecological disaster the mark of a government take over? I say No. Is BP going pay back every shrimper, fisherman and lost tourism dollars that this spill created, not to mention the lost of habitat.? If the Alaskan spill is any indication the answer is no. I do not see BP paying billions a year for years to make up for the damage done to the fishing and tourism industry, but the should and we the people should demand that our elected officials hold them too that.
BP may get off easy with a few billion in pay outs, which if I think about it, if I was gambling and only had to risk say 1-1/2% of the cost of screwing up, I would bet the house on every hand. Why not? In effect BP put mine and all of our beloved Louisiana (and Texas, Florida, and Alabama) shrimp on the gambling table, and rolled the dice with them for profits.
What does this have to do with local shrimp in Michigan? Everything.
Everything, because the hunger to feed the unsustainable, and often corrupt form of “CASINO CAPITALISM” has lead to the unregulated, lets cash out before the crash, spill, or other names crisis, system of economics we have now.
And it is a local food system in part which can help to ease that hunger, and create a system where we local food, and small “c” capitalist that can sustain resources like farm land, water ways, wild life areas, and the cherished regional food traditions that we love, and that make this country something special.
Hopefully, out of this unprecedented ongoing environmental tragedy, some strong reform, and hard looks at alternative, less risky solutions for our energy will be established. Or we will sit around and wait for the next big thing to happen.