As a blogger whose focus is on health, fitness and food, someone who doesn’t know me may assume I’m one of those people – you know the type – the militant all-natural foodies who refuse to step foot into a chain grocery store and forage for mushrooms in their local park rather than make a purchase from Big Agri.
Yes – Absolutely! I support local farmers markets wherever and whenever I can. I try to make sustainable seafood choices when possible, buy mostly organic rice, beans and other grains, and an audit of my pantry won’t reveal even one packaged dinner in a box. I do, however, shop at chain grocery stores where I make the healthiest choices possible for my family.
You can call me a fringe player and blame me for contributing to the production of genetically modified produce and all things evil as related to food production; but while I would always vote against Big Agri like Monsanto’s right to have their genetically engineered crops contaminating other farmers’ organic crops, I’m a realist. My family is comfortable; but buying all organic, locally produced, unmodified ingredients isn’t in our budget. I would love to have the magic foodie fairies deliver all natural, locally grown, unprocessed ingredients to my door in grapevine baskets; but my husband is a teacher and I’m a freelance writer….so you can see the financial challenge that might present. :)
And here’s the kicker…..we’re sooooo well off compared to millions and here in the states around the world. The World Hunger Education Service estimates indicate there were 925 million hungry people world-wide in 2010. An international study done by Elanco identified only 5% of the world’s consumers as those who purchase luxury/ gourmet/organic foods and items based on food bans, propositions and restrictions. The rest of us purchase based on taste, COST and nutrition.
SO – what does this mean? It means that somehow, we have to figure out how to feed our ever-growing world population in a healthy, ecologically responsible and cost effective way. Upon further research, it also means that all forms of mass produced food and food product production techniques are not inherently evil.
Perhaps it means that grants and subsidies should be available to the smaller artisan food producers and local farmers to improve their production efficiency, thereby dropping prices. Maybe then more than the lucky 5% mentioned earlier would be in a position to afford their high-quality products on a regular basis. Even simple, non-food invasive technologies such as using load cells to improve the accuracy and efficiency in food weighing and packaging might reduce a small or mid-sized producer’s costs so those savings could be passed on to the rest of us. In fact, based on News from Transducer Techniques, there are a varieties of ways in which load cell technology could be translated to the smaller food producers.
In conclusion, like many others, I wish we could figure out a way to manage our world’s ever-growing need for sustenance while keeping big business and all the necessary evils they bring to the proverbial table out of the running. Given the opportunity, I’d put my money where my mouth is in the voting booth and will always make “smart” and “appropriate” purchases where I can afford to. Until workable, sustainable and responsible options are viable on a world-wide basis, though, I’ll continue to be a moderate foodie.