"Isn't local & organic food too expensive?"
This article is reproduced from a blog. It makes so much sense to us, we had to include it on our site. It's reproduced exactly (except one paragraph) as we couldn't really put it much better ourselves. It is American but the principles are the same. It should not even be about value but about what we value.
"By far the biggest gripe you hear out there re organic and/or local food is the price: too high. Every time I encounter that complaint though, I try to remind folks that the price you see at the supermarket is absolutely not the actual price you pay. Pollan has put this to words much better than I ever could, so here it is (he is talking to a grass farmer named Joel Salatin):
I asked Joel how he answers the charge that because food like his is more expensive, it is inherently elitist. “I don’t accept the premise,” he replied. “First off, those weren’t any ‘elitists’ you met on the farm this morning. We sell to all kinds of people. Second, whenever I hear people say clean food is expensive, I tell them it’s actually the cheapest food you can buy. That always gets their attention. Then I explain that, with our food, all of the costs are figured into the price. Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water—of all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap. No thinking person will tell you they don’t care about all that. I tell them the choice is simple: You can buy honestly priced food or you can buy irresponsibly priced food.”
As it is, artisanal producers like Joel compete on quality, which, oddly enough, is still a somewhat novel idea when it comes to food. “When someone drives up to the farm in a BMW and asks me why our eggs cost more, well, first I try not to get mad,” said Joel. “Frankly, any city person who doesn’t think I deserve a white-collar salary as a farmer doesn’t deserve my special food. Let them eat E. coli. But I don’t say that. Instead I take him outside and point at his car. ‘Sir, you clearly understand quality and are willing to pay for it. Well, food is no different: You get what you pay for.’
“Why is it that we exempt food, of all things, from that rule? Industrial agriculture, because it depends on standardization, has bombarded us with the message that all pork is pork, all chicken is chicken, eggs eggs, even though we all know that can’t really be true. But it’s downright un-American to suggest that one egg might be nutritionally superior to another.” Joel recited the slogan of his local supermarket chain: “‘We pile it high and sell it cheap.’ What other business would ever sell its products that way?”
Much of our food system depends on our not knowing much about it, beyond the price disclosed by the checkout scanner; cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing. And it’s a short way from not knowing who’s at the other end of your food chain to not caring—to the carelessness of both producers and consumers that characterizes our economy today. Of course, the global economy couldn’t very well function without this wall of ignorance and the indifference it breeds. This is why the American food industry and its international counterparts fight to keep their products from telling even the simplest stories—“dolphin safe,” “humanely slaughtered,” etc.—about how they were produced.
The more knowledge people have about the way their food is produced, the more likely it is that their values—and not just “value”—will inform their purchasing decisions.
...there are many of us who could afford to spend more on food if we choose to. After all, it isn't only the elite who in recent years have found an extra fifty or one hundred dollars each month to spend on cell phones or television, which close to 90 percent of households now pay for. Another formerly free good that more than half of us happily pay for today is water. So is the unwillingness to pay more for food really a matter of affordability or priority?