FROM DIRT TO DINNER PLATE
Local is the new Organic Part 5
CONSUMERS AGREE TO PAY MORE FOR SUSTAINABLE FOOD
Organics now account for more than 10% of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States. Organic, local, natural, and similarly labeled products probably make up only 7% to 10% of all foods sold today. However, various food industry studies indicate approximately one third of American consumers are willing to pay premium prices for healthful and nutritious foods that have ecological, social, and economic integrity. These are hopeful signs for the future of food.
It may cost American food consumers a bit more for food produced sustainably, at least initially, because by one means or another we ultimately must pay the ecological and social costs, as well as the economic costs, of our food.
Food prices have likely risen more as a consequence of diverting about 40% of the U.S. corn crop to ethanol production than would result from a transition to sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, some of the most credible global food studies indicate that sustainable farming practices are in fact the best hope for hungry people in the poorest and most densely populated areas of the world.
Sustainable agriculture is often labeled by critics as an elitist movement, but the actual cost of food amounts to less than 20 cents of each dollar spent for food. The rest goes for processing, packaging, transportation, advertising, and all the rest that make foods more convenient or convince us to buy it. This means that lower income consumers could easily afford to pay higher cost for actual food, if they were able to buy minimally-processed, unpackaged, unadvertised foods from local farmers rather than in convenience stores and fast-food restaurants.
People are not hungry because food prices are too high.
They are hungry because they are poor and far from production/distribution points
and have not learned how to prepare real food.
Wholeshare Online Food offers cooking classes.