That's right! As they said on "Parks and Rec" the other night:
America is about being able to eat whatever we want and gain too much weight and die of a heart attack at 45. That's our right and we want it.
As for healthy food being as cheap as processed food: just not so. I've heard this time and again, and I'm glad that it's been addressed by Michael Pollen. If you only have a small sum of money you cannot buy in bulk and freeze. It takes an initial outlay of money to buy enough on sale to put some back to save money later. If you don't start with that amount, you can't do it. If you live in an urban area, you cannnot grow your own garden in many cases. If you have a small amount of money---say $10.00---you are limited to what you can buy for that. My state charges almost 10% tax on all foods, so I often have to put food back. Yes, the bag of potatoes is cheaper than potato chips, but that is not really the issue when you're really, really limited in funds.You're not buying chips when you are really broke. People without money who are really broke buy cheap boxes of generic mac and cheese, eggs, a small cheap milk, the cheapest margerine, the cheapest bread (white), ramen noodles. A bag of potatoes, on sale, is a good thing to buy. Greens in season are okay. But the lettuces, spinach, certainly the red peppers, berries, fruits, asparagus, and often the broccoli are on the expensive side. They cost a lot more than mac and cheese, which is what poor people with kids live on if they don't have food stamps.
The farmers who grow corn are subsidized by the government and the farmers who grow pears are not.
And certainly not organic fruit farmers.
I don't think we need to up the taxes on high-calore, highly-processed junk, but lower the prices on healthy foods. And the author is right---this happens by voting with your money. But it might also help if the government looked more closely at what foods they choose to subsidize. Maybe it's time to help smaller, organic farmers the way they help large, agri-business corn growers.
- 2/8/2010 10:43:18 AM