Thursday, September 3, 2009

Defending Affordable Food

Keep your self-righteous fingers off my processed food
By demanding we all pay more to fund their agendas in these harsh economic times, foodie snobs and lefty social critics may as well tell us to eat artisanal cake.

By Charlotte Allen
August 30, 2009

Just in time for the worst economic downturn since the Depression, here comes a new crop of social critics to inform us that we're actually spending too little for the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the furniture we sit on and the gasoline that runs our automobiles.

Never mind that U.S. job losses these days range from 200,000 to 500,000 a month, that foreclosures are up 32% over this time last year and that people are re-learning how to clip newspaper coupons so as to save at the supermarket. Dire economic circumstances don't seem to faze these spending enthusiasts, who scold us for shopping at supermarkets instead of at farmer's markets, where a loaf of "artisanal" (and also "sustainable") rye bread sells for $8, ice cream for $6 a cup and organic tomatoes go for $4 a pound.

The latest cheerleader for higher prices is Ellen Ruppel Shell, a professor of science journalism at Boston University who has just published a book titled "Cheap." It's not a guide to bargain-hunting. The theme of Shell's book, subtitled "The High Cost of Discount Culture," is "America's dangerous liaison with Cheap."

Shell's argument goes like this: Shopping at discount stores, factory outlets and, of course, Wal-Mart (no work of social criticism is complete without a drive-by shooting aimed at that chain) exploits Chinese factory workers (who would much rather be back on the collective farm wearing their Mao suits) and degrades the environment because much of the low-price junk wears out and ends up in landfills. Read More

It’s a refreshing change of pace to see an op-ed piece that is defending our affordable food supply and it comes from the LA Times of all places. This reporter hits the nail on the head when she correctly questions why anyone would advocate for higher priced goods in this country. Normally this attitude comes from elitists that can afford to spend more of their income on the basic needs of food and shelter. For many families, this could very well force them to rely on food pantries which wouldn’t be able to help as much. Wondering where your next meal is going to come from can’t be a very good feeling to have and thank goodness most of us have never had to deal with that. So while Pollan and his band of elitist food dictators continue hoping that the price of food will go up, the American farmer continues to work everyday trying to make sure that no one has to worry about the basic need of food.

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