Can I just vent for a minute? (Oh wait, it's my blog, of course I can...) So you know how people are always saying that they buy junk food because it's cheap, and fruits and vegetables are so expensive? First of all, I don't really believe it -- it takes a bit of planning and work to eat well inexpensively, but it certainly can be done. There's a little produce market in my neighborhood where you can get a silo of broccoli for like $2.37. But let's just say for the sake of argument that it's true, fresh produce is more expensive than packaged stuff. Have you ever wondered why?
Blame at least part of it on our completely messed up farm subsidy program. The Washington Post just did an amazing story about all the government (read: taxpayer) money that goes to people who live on what was once farmland, but who no longer farm, or who use the land for other commercial interests such as timber or cattle. We're talking billions, people, billions! With a B!
Imagine if that money was redirected to help small farmers get into and stay in business, to help them get their organic certification (many small farmers are organic, but they can't say so because they can't afford to get the very expensive certification), to reward them for using energy efficient or otherwise green practices. Imagine if some of it went to fund programs to help educate people about healthy eating, especially in poorer communities. What if we connected the two -- helped small farmers get on their feet and stay there, and then reward them for bringing their products to poorer communities to sell at a lower price.
Instead we're subsidizing farmers who don't farm, and oversubsidizing crops like corn. That's why there's so much high fructose corn syrup in everything -- corn is largely paid for by the government (yep, meaning your tax dollars). So basically you are paying for companies to farm masssive amounts of corn that is then turned into a substance that is poisoning you.
Do this for me -- try to go one week without eating anything with corn syrup in it. Read every label, and put it back on the shelf if it has corn syrup. You'll be amazed. And yes, the products that you buy instead of the ones with corn syrup are more expensive -- because they don't use that el cheap-o commodity as a sweeter/preservative.
OK, I'm done ranting (for now). Thanks for "listening."