What do you say when someone tells you high-quality food is too expensive? A growing number of people say they feel bad paying more for local food and caring about taste when others struggle to put food on the table. Farmer-cum-revolutionary Joel Salatin says you shouldn't apologize for making a noble decision, and the charge of elitism is both unfair and silly.
In an article last year for Flavor Magazine in Virginia, which was recently reposted on Handpicked Nation, Joel Salatin takes this issue down to the bone with a look at the economics surrounding food prices and why it's worth it to spend more on local, unprocessed food. His arguments:
• It tastes better and it's safer.
• It's nutritionally superior.
• Prices will go down the more people patronize local food.
• Unprocessed food will decrease your grocery bill, but you need to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again.
• Why does it have to be more expensive? Because right now government regulations lead to price prejudice at the community-based level. Small food processors and makers are at a disadvantage because the costs can't be spread out over a large product volume, but rather have to be passed along to consumers. Also, diversified farms don't receive any government subsidies.
He sums it up this way:
Plenty of money already exists in our economic system to pay for good food. Can you think of anything people buy that they don't need? Tobacco products, $100 designer jeans with holes already in the knees, KFC, soft drinks made with high fructose corn syrup, Disney vacations, large-screen TVs, jarred baby food? America spends more on veterinary care for pets than the entire continent of Africa spends on medical care for humans. I won't belabor the point, but if you took all the money people spend on unnecessary baubles and junk food, it would be enough for everyone to eat like kings. We could all be elitists...
...To suggest that advocating for such a change makes me an elitist is to disparage positive decision making and behavior. Indeed, if that's elitism, I want it. The victim mentality our culture encourages actually induces guilt among people making progress. That's crazy. We should applaud positive behavior and encourage others to follow suit, not demonize and discourage it. Would it be better to applaud people who buy amalgamated, reconstituted, fumigated, irradiated, genetically modified industrial garbage?
Read the whole article and then come back and tell us your thoughts!
Read More: Rebel with a Cause: Foodie Elitism at Flavor Magazine
(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)