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Why A Salad Costs More Than A Big Mac

Mar 08, 2010

This graphic tells the story about as well as Micheal Pollan could.  It's all about the priorities we set as a society.  If we support subsidizing corn and soybeans in order to feed them to cows (and Cargill) to make cheap burgers of to Coca-Cola to make cheap soft drinks, we shouldn't be too shocked when people buy those cheap foods and feed them to their families, especially in the current economy when some people are having to choose between food, healthcare, and heating oil.  In our tea-party flavored times, some might argue that government shouldn't have a role in righting the balance between cheap, unhealthy foods and more expensive, healthy ones, but such thinking ignores the role that federal policy already plays in food pricing.  Just for the sake of flexing your creative thinking muscles, imagine if we flipped our priorities as a society and made the healthiest foods the easiest and cheapest ones to access?  Food for thought.


The Ominvore's Dilemma summarized in a pyramid graph: that's quite a feat. (You need to do a histogram of Madame Bovary next.) It raises the question of how something as distorted and monstrous as our Farm Bill came to be in the first place. (If I were to try to summarize the answer to that, I'd say that salads cost more than Big Macs because elected policy makers are beholden to large agri-businesses for their re-election, and therefore policy is set to benefit large agribusiness, rather than everyone in our nation who eats.) Changing our election system in the US would be a very tall, difficult order to fill, particularly now that the Supreme Court has allowed corporations even greater political influence. But electing not to enrich the corporations responsible for the food disaster we face, well that's almost easy. Stop giving them the money they need to get policy makers to write terrible farm bills. Grow as much of your own as you can. Anyone can do it--all you need is a little bit of dirt, water, seed, and light. A site like this one where you can come with your questions, and share what you know about growing, helps. Plus, growing your own is a blast. So, I have hope! Great post, thanks.
You are so right. Grow your own or buy from a local farmer that you know and trust.

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