Monday, April 20, 2009
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle pt. 2
Steven L. Hopp, Barbara Kingsolver's husband, argues that saving a little money purchasing industrially grown foods rather than locally grown is costing us the following:
-$22 BILLION in tax dollars annually used subsidize agricultural fuel used in growing, processing and shipping the products
-$3 billion in direct subsidies to large-scale, chemical-dependent farming (Farm Bill for corn & wheat)
-$10 billion for treatment of food-related illnesses annually
-$17 billion in agricultural chemical cleanup costs
-$8 billion in collateral costs of pesticide use
-$20 billion in costs of nutrients lost to erosion
I admit he may be stretching things here, not defining some of these things more clearly, but he still makes some very valid points.
Organic farming practices build soil, not deplete it. They eliminate pesticides and herbicides. These farmers apply a knowledge of many different crops, rotating crops and using cover crops, etc. Their methods require extra time and labor and small farms bear higher costs for packing, marketing, and distributing which forces the buyers to pay a little bit higher sticker price. But isn't good health and a healthy environment worth a few pennies more?!
Hopp also claims that "each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles." He continues, "If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences. Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast."