Why is it that, of everything out there about which we say “you get what you pay for,” we don’t include food? We don’t have a love affair with cheap concert tickets or cheap retirement programs. Why food? But it doesn’t have to be expensive. I would suggest that if you get in your kitchen and cook for yourself, you can eat like kings for a very low cost.
And [at Polyface Farms] we are not externalizing any of the costs of our food. The mechanical food system externalizes a lot of costs like obesity or Type 2 diabetes. – Joel Salatin
Making people sick is a great way to create jobs and grow the economy. It also supports the bottom line of many multi-national companies. According to Gord Hume, in The Local Food Revolution (Hume, Gord. 2010. The Local Food Revolution. Municipal World Inc. St. Thomas, Ontario) “some experts are predicting that, unless things change, Canada’s provincial governments may soon be spending 50% of their entire budget on health care.” This means that in Canada, we work many hours to give a considerable percentage of our income to taxes that cover the cost of health care for diet-related illnesses in addition to taxes that go to subsidizing farms that contribute to the growing health care bill due to producing food that does not nourish and sustain health.
According to Lang and Heasman (Lang, T. & Heasman, M. 2004. Food Wars: The Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets. Earthscan: London), institutions of food governance have failed to address the issues of public health arising from our food system, and corporate influence of the food economy. They are also failing to integrate food with health. It is incredible how so many ‘ministries’ stand alone; agriculture, food, environment, health …. They are all connected.
The consumer can chose to buy cheap food but pays for the cost of our cheap food supply system when they pay for health care due to diet related disease, when their tax money goes to farm subsidies, when they buy a gym membership and get nowhere running on a treadmill, when they have to look after a sick relative, and when they buy supplements to replace the nutrients that are not available in grocery store food.
As Gord Hume says: “The indifference; … a tolerance of poor food and health choices; and a society that has accepted little responsibility for the resulting health crisis will mean that the next generation will have a shorter lifespan and poorer health than ever before. That phenomenon has likely never happened before in the history of the world. It is a shameful legacy for our society and its leaders.”
According to a study by researchers from All Children’s Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center a few years ago, twenty-five per cent of children in the U.S. going into Kindergarten are obese or overweight. Now, that is just not fair on such young innocent victims – victims of a corporate good system that a government supports.
As eaters, we do have a choice. And it needs to be a lifestyle choice.