WE SHOULD SPEND MORE MONEY ON FOOD
“If the choice is between paying the farmer or the hospital, we should choose to pay the farmer”
There’s a general reluctance to spend lots of money on food, but it is the fuel and foundation of the body – as well as a pleasure in its own right – so we should be prepared to spend more for higher standards.
When buying animal products, we should pay more to ensure the livestock has been raised humanely. We should buy meat, eggs and milk from animals that have lived on the pasture, not in cramped, dirty cages, and refuse to participate in the brutality characteristic of factory farms. It costs more to raise animals on an open farm, so we must be willing to pay more if we want to see animals treated well.
RAISE THE BAR
With things like chocolate and coffee, which are often produced by virtual slave labour or bought at unfair prices, we should pay a premium for Fairtrade certification to ensure the farmers and harvesters are paid a decent price. Europeans spend less on food than many people all over the world, and the reason much of what we buy in Europe is so cheap is that people were exploited in the process of getting it here.
We should also buy organic where possible, not only for our own health but to ensure the land remains healthy for future generations, and to reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals. Pesticides are dangerous for everyone, not just consumers, and are damaging our soil, water and air. Again, we should pay more for food that has been grown safely and sustainably.
In a weird twist of logic, fruit, vegetables and sometimes even meat produced here in the UK costs more than food shipped in from the other side of the world. For the few months that native produce is in season, we should pay the extra pennies for food that didn’t take litres of fossil fuels to reach us. This is just one way we can reduce pollution.
As a society, it’s actually more economical to invest in high-quality (whole, local, organic) food, because it improves the health of us all. That means we spend less money on drugs, dentistry, vitamin supplements and other things we need to remedy the consequences of a poor diet. We in the UK might not pay directly to see our doctor or visit the hospital, but we can reduce the amount of tax money spent to combat health problems. If the choice is between paying the farmer or the hospital, we should choose to pay the farmer.
THE FULL MONTY
We may even save money overall by spending more on good-quality food, because it fills you up better and for longer. A hard-boiled free-range egg and a banana will go a lot further and give you a lot more energy than a soft drink and a doughnut, which will just leave you needing to refuel again soon, not to mention making you feel unhealthy and less effective at work. When our food is nutrientdense we require a lot less of it.
Finally, we should pay more for our food because good, tasty food takes time to grow, and time costs money. Today’s intensive farming techniques are driven by economics. When you don’t use them, your food takes longer and costs more to produce, but there’s no doubt it tastes better.