Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Hormones, chemicals, equity in food prodction - Part 2 #foodsecurity #foodquality #foodequality


My friend Belinda, of Belinda's Place, has responded to this recent post.  While her comment is published in the comments section attached to the post, I feel that her points are important and so want to give them greater prominence.  Here they are:

Hi Miss Eagle,

I think I agree and disagree on this one.

First I agree that everyone should have access to safe wholesome food. I also feel they should have access at the point of purchase to all the information, related to that product, that might impact on that choice (i.e. labling GMO's etc..).

Where we disagree is your focus on driving down the prices of sustainable choices. Although I am sure there is fat in the pricing of organics, fair trade and other ethics based schemes this is a two sided equation. Regardless of consumer demand farmers won't switch to a system of farming that costs more, either in Labour or things such as benefits to the workers, unless there is a financial reason to do so. There is a steep learning curve in changing the way you have done something for 2 generations, particularly for generational farming families.

The reality is that as percentage of income households now pay significantly less for food than your grandmother did (unless she farmed/grew it herself). Cheaper food has allowed other costs to go up, or in many cases for us to become wasteful, while either maintaining or increasing the prestige of the food we eat(i.e. quality of cuts or overly generous portion sizes).

Cheap food has allowed housing to increase in price.. because the market has the ability to pay. It's allowed massive increases in the amount of energy (electricity & gas) we are able to afford thus track lighting, air conditioners in almost every home and a massive increase in home size, proportional to occupants. It's allowed multiple car households and the explosion of recreational lifestyle expectations.

Personally I think we would be much better off looking at the entire equation and finding a way to balance it in a way that allows sustainable options to be within the reach of all. Simply talking about pushing down food prices out of the wider context simply means that farmers get the raw end of the deal, cause you can be sure it won't be the middle men.

Kind Regards

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