The Cost of Food
Yesterday I had to make a quick trip to Whole Foods to grab laundry detergent, milk, tulips, protein drinks, bread, soda, orange juice and a few oranges. As I was checking out, I think the total came to around $70.00 for 2 bags of groceries. I laughed and said “Well this is why they call it Whole-Paycheck.” I think the cashier was a little offended and quickly returned with “Well, good food costs more.” He was right, good food does cost more and is a luxury most people cannot afford. The reality is that food costs are rising, and that means good wholesome organic or local food is also becoming more expensive. But what’s the catch?
New York farmer Shannon Hayes weighs in on this issue:
The truth is, food in the grocery store is not cheap. We pay for it in advance with our tax dollars, which support farm subsidies that go to support an ecologically problematic industrialized food system. We pay for it with the lives of our soldiers and with the unfathomable military expenditures that support our national reliance on fossil fuels, upon which the industrial farming model is completely dependent. The prices only look cheap because we are paying for them someplace else: through our taxes, and via the destruction of our soil, water, and natural resources through irresponsible farming practices.
Until we value not only what is on our plates, but how it got to our plates, how it is affecting the soil and water, and creating a livable wage for those who grow or raise it – we will always complain about the food costs. We have been taught to look at food through a very narrow lens without regard for the whole picture. “The viability of a small farm is dependent not just on garnering a living wage, but on our ability to steward our land in a way that allows it to stay healthy and productive into the future.” (Hayes) I sympathize with the very real fact that most of us are on a tight budget, however I encourage you all to look closely at the connection of where your food comes from, and how it not only impacts you- but to really ask how it impacts our planet . So much of our income goes to fuel, health insurance, doctors, and pills and a very small percentage actually goes to our food. And yes, there is a connection. What can you do to participate in creating a sustainable food future?