Thursday, March 31, 2016

One Reason Healthy Food Is More Expensive

Most people have the slightest idea about the food chain in this country.  I won't admit to being an expert myself, but I try to stay informed.  While the amount of regulations is overwhelming, just a basic understanding of how your food gets from the farmer to your table is very important. More important is the quality of that food.

Here is my opinion on the issue. A healthy life is a rich life.  That's not only true for your general well-being, but also financially.  Although the financial benefits are general hidden they are just as real.

A common gripe I receive is it's to hard to eat healthy because of the cost. True that good organic food can be more money.  Or the fact apples and peppers can sometimes cost $4/lb.  But there are plenty of ways around all that which allow me to eat very healthy on the best food money can buy. My household the last 3 months spends on average $325/mth for the best food in the world*. And we normally eat 90% of our meals at home.

So what if our healthy food is made more expensive that it should be? There are a lot of ways we can get our food, and even more regulations regarding how we actually get it. I read an article that got me really fired up about the food in our country, and I'll admit it is not the first time. I'll paste the entire link instead of a normal hyperlink

http://www.davidgumpert.com/vermont-farmer-opts-regulated-beef-slaughter

The article highlights one of the many reasons healthier food is more expensive. While in general it costs more for animals to be pasture raised compared to the "factory farm" method.  That is because factory farms have economies of scale, and not always the highest quality. This farmer cited real costs that are making his healthier cattle unnecessarily more expensive.  His struggles with food regulators is normally out of sight out of mind.  We don't get this story on the packaging at the local grocer, Mariano's, or even Whole Foods.  All we get is the price, and never the actual nutritional values(another problem).

Yet this is one of many impediments our country needs to rectify in order to increase access to healthier and more affordable food. To me it's an absolute shame the supposed best country in the world has issues like this. If government regulations aren't helping our access to affordable, healthy food then maybe therein lies the real problem.

I have a lot of ideas on how to make business and government work more effectively. Sadly the only way for me to get the ideas out is to write to everyone here.

So here is my set of proposals to get our food straightened out once and for all in America.

1. Reduce or eliminate regulations requiring our farmers to incur extra cost to process meat and vegetables while allowing full access for consumer-farmer direct buying. The benefit here is we can almost completely bypass middlemen adding extra costs. Then in true capitalism form farms with the best practice's will succeed in providing consumers exactly what they want directly.

2. Remove USDA farm subsidies/regulations which wrongly promote mono-cropping and factory farming. This is a big reason why unhealthy options are price competitive since they are taxpayer funded.

3. Place nutritional values on all meats and vegetables. This is a harder task than it seems, but not impossible. People need to know the content of nutrients they get from their food.  Someone from another planet would think only items in boxes and cans had any nutritional value for humans on earth. This would also allow us to see how pasture raised and organic food is even more nutritious than conventional food.

4. Label all foods that contain GMO's, or even better completely eliminate them.

5. Develop a system to inform people what pesticides/herbicides were used on their food. If cigarettes and alcohol have warning labels then a person should have a right to know what chemicals were sprayed on their food.

The results would create more choices and increase competition for healthier food.  Consumers would win in the end which is the entire point of a free market economy. While not all my proposals are going to make things cheaper it should allow for people to make better decisions about the most important thing we do everyday. Because what good is anything if you aren't healthy?

*$325 is for two people for all at home food and drink which at least 80% of is organic purchases. 

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