Food is something that we have come to take for granted. We don’t realize how lucky we are that at nearly anytime of any day we can go to the store and get almost anything that we want. We have come to accept this as our reality and expect it. What we don’t realize is what goes into getting this food to our tables and how it effects the greater picture such as the environment and the people who are growing it. It’s often the sticker price that is taken into consideration when it’s much more complex than that. The next time you are at the grocery store, take these factors into consideration:
Women Are Being Exploited
The price of food isn’t determined strictly on how it is produced. There are more factors that figure into the equation. It’s sad that in the world of industrial agriculture, women farm workers are the ones that pay the price. Roughly a quarter of the US farm workers are female. In general industrial farm workers are mistreated, but women get it even worse.
They face daily threats of harassment, rape and wage theft.
So by buying cheap food that’s made using industrial agriculture you are supporting these actions. By growing your own own, you are making a statement against this practice.
Rising Food Costs
Per the USDA only about 15% of each dollar a consumer spends on food goes towards the actual food. The other 85% goes to food processors and food services.
Food processors process the food into food products that are put into boxes and packages that you see on the grocery store shelves. Food services handle distribution and labeling of the food. This means that nearly all of the money that you are paying for food is going to the middleman. It’s not even going towards the food. If you grow your own, you can cut out the middleman all together and the price of your food.
Federal Food Safety Programs are Facing Budget Cuts
It’s not much of a surprise that Congress has proposed to cut the budget for programs that are supposed to protect our food and water safety. If you pay attention to the news, you can see all of the salmonella and other food borne illness outbreaks that regularly occur. Cutting the programs that are supposed to ensure this safety might cause this number to increase even more.
By growing your own, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
You don’t have to have a huge garden or grow tons of food to make a social statement. If you were to just grow on herb or veggie it will make a difference for yourself and for the environment.
What are you waiting for?
Through his blog UrbanOrganicGardener.com and social media, Mike Lieberman shares his expertise on urban gardening, green living and real food. He inspires others to start growing their own food and believes that growing just one herb or vegetable will make a difference. It will help to cut back the intensive resources that go into the production and transport of food to our plates. It will also help us to re-establish our connection with food that we’ve lost over the past few years. We are humans. We grow food. Connect with Mike on his blog, Twitter or Facebook. Photo by Southern Foodways Alliance.