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What is NAFTA?

Dirt to Dinner

March 5, 2018

Most of the conversation centered on food circles around the same issues, such as “What are GMOs” or “Where is the organic produce?” Or “Local is better.” At D2D, we wanted to explore the role international trade plays in bringing food to your dinner table.

While you are selecting avocados or blueberries at the grocery store, the last thing you are thinking about is Mexico. Or when you eat a ham sandwich, does Canada come to mind? Probably not. But these are just a few of the products that depend on trade between North American countries to satisfy our food demands.

Year-round availability of many food products occurs largely because other countries can either grow them cheaper than the U.S. or have growing seasons that are opposite of ours. Trade provides the best possible price for the products we want by moving food from where it is grown and produced to where it is eaten. It is an efficient, universal means of bringing balance to supply and demand, and taking the wild swings out of our daily food prices.

Those opposed to NAFTA, on the other hand, argue that the influx of produce from Mexico or Canada negatively affect their prices. For instance, the avocado farmer in California is able to sell the farm’s produce at a premium if avocados are not being imported from Mexico. However, NAFTA can encourage farmers to be more dynamic and versatile in their farming practices. Today, some farmers in California are adapting by diversifying into coffee plants.

Read on...

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