I like to eat healthy and I know I should choose organic, wholesome foods that aren't processed and manufactured by big, greedy food corporations. So I trek out to my nearby Whole Foods and buy my groceries for the week, but dang it's an expensive trip! I get a little weak in the knees seeing my final tally in the 3-digit range. How is it that I can shop at a conventional supermarket and spend at least half the amount of money for the same amount of food? Maybe all this organic nonsense is not that important. I mean, I am not made of money and I need to eat!
it's tempting to go the easy route and buy conventional, non-organic foodstuff to save money
Sound familiar? We all struggle with affording proper meals that nourish and sustain us. And it's tempting to go the easy route and buy conventional, non-organic foodstuff to save money. In the short run, it keeps more dollar bills in our pockets and that makes us happy, right? The truth is there are externalized costs to buying cheap foods. You may be saving money now, but there are larger consequences to your health, to society and to the environment. In other words, if even you choose cheap foods, you will still pay dearly! Here are some quick examples of the costs:
1. Exploitation of cheap laborers who will work long hours in inhumane conditions because they are trapped in a endless cycle of poverty
2. Mass farming depletes the soil of nutrients and promotes erosion, so farmers have to keep expanding as they burn out their existing fields (which leads to the further destruction of natural habitats)
3. The extinction of a great variety of seeds as food scientist hone in on one genetically modified "superseed" resistant to problems like drought and insects
4. The rise of monocultures where one, dominant crop is at risk of a single threat wiping it out completely
5. Air and water pollution from the by-products of massive food processing plants, commercial farms, and factory feedlots, which makes the air we breathe and the water we drink hazardous to our health
6. Carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels to keep all of the food system machinery moving; which leads to global warming and unpredictable climate changes (which ironically has repercussions on farming and crop yield!)
7. The use of viruses to break down the molecular structure of food to manipulate the genes (GMOs), a scientific practice we don't have the longevity or the research to know if it's really safe
8. Overproduction caused by commercial farming means an overabundance of cheap food, which leads to either lots of wasted, unused food or just the opposite: lots of overconsumption and a myriad of health problems including diabetes and heart disease
9. Food becomes less about nourishing people and more about profiteering; and big corporations are likely to disregard health and societal concerns in the pursuit of more and more money (their deep pockets also allow them to have very powerful lobbyists and essentially to buy out our government)
10. With every dollar spent you are telling manufacturers that it's okay to keep doing things in the same, unsustainable ways
if more people were using their money to send these kinds of messages, then we just might have a revolution on our hands
How deep does the rabbit hole go? Simple put: what you choose to put in your body as food has huge implications. So spending more on organic items now will hopefully offset some of these damaging externalized costs within our food system in the future. Plus, I am a big proponent of using my money and buying decisions to send a message to companies about what I prefer. You give me the healthy products I want, and I will reward you with future business. It's like training a dog! In fact, I may even spend more money with you the more you align with my overall sustainable food principles. And if more people were using their money to send these kinds of messages, then we just might have a revolution on our hands! Imagine a win-win situation where companies profit by selling more and more healthy products that are better for the people and the planet.
Got anything to add to the list? Let us know! Please use the COMMENT SECTION below this article. We can all learn from each other.