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Friday, March 02, 2007

Myth, noun, 2. a widely held but false belief

I will apologize in advance. I can not remember where I read or heard this recently, I am sure it has come from numerous places.

I have apparently fallen victim to the myth that organic foods cost more than non-organic. I am relieved to know that it was just me and that when I went into the grocery I was just misreading the price tags. Like last night I saw that organic milk was $5.00US for a ½ gallon while 1 gallon of non-organic was $2.39US. I am just flabbergasted that I could fall for such a myth. I mean I paid far too much for the organic greenhouse tomatoes, I guess I paid the non-organic price.

When I read someone claiming that organics are not more expensive then non-organic it causes me to question the author. Where does this person live? Are they talking about the health price we pay? WHAT??

It takes more time and energy to raise organic fruits and vegetables. The price in labor itself is higher. Yet it really shouldn't be that much higher when it comes to things like milk, unless of course they hand milk the cow themselves. {they don't they use machines}.

I am happy to tell people that can afford it, that they would feel better if they ate organics. But you will not find me talking to the general population about the myth of prices. There is no myth, and unless you can buddy up with a local farmer, most people are not going to be able to afford to buy organic. {ok you caught me talking about it} I grow organically, that's the only way I could afford to eat primarily organic foods. Take away my homestead and I would be shopping at Wal-mart, buying their so-called organics.

It bothers me the way that some authors will talk down to people that can not afford their way of life. The way they belittle those that could not afford to live the author's holier than thou ethics. And that my friends bring us back to the Hate those little green people post. It goes both ways. You can not lie, scream, cry, throw a tantrum, or lecture if you want people to see your point of view. {I find sarcasm works wanders, but that is a personality flaw} If you truly care about the world around you, find a new way to educate people about your values. Actually take a moment and go out into your community to meet your neighbors and find out if they are wanting the same things as you. And if so, brainstorm to find a solution to help your immediate area. Please do not berate, belittle nor blatantly lie to them or to us. We might not be completely educated in your little world, but we are not stupid and learn quickly.

Nope, not lecturing, I'm just saying.

Oh and why don't you smell that your dog has been skunked until it has been in the house for a few moments?


Emme said...

What do you think of the long term costs of non-organic? Petroleum based fertilizers, etc? Non-organic may cost less out of the pocket, but could cost more in the long run.

Phelan said...

exactly, but that is never clear when some authors discuss it. I have said it many times, if you can not afford the initial cost, you will not buy it. Currently only those that make enough money can go the route of organic. Those without said funds must make do. Instead of telling people doom on you if you don't do this, we should make our ways into the communities that can not afford perks like organic foods, and help them grow their own. Or even find ways to get the price of organics lowered.

Talk is fine, but the walk is healthier.

gtr said...

I agree that some organic products are definitely more expensive than non-organic, but as a favorite local farmer says around here: if your food is cheap, someone's getting ripped off.

We in this country are so used to buying the cheapest food we can find, food that's supported by ag subsidies and huge multi-national companies, and perhaps provided by farmers who are barely scraping by. I don't have the numbers at hand, but I think Americans pay much less of their total budget for food than most citizens of other countries.

I know it's hard to afford organics, and not everyone can or should buy them. I actually feel guilty, sometimes, that we do buy organic; we don't have kids to support, etc so we have the luxury of some extra food budget.

But I think it's a matter of deciding what's a "normal" price for milk, and what you are willing to pay for various things and the issues that are the most important to you. We've actually been buying local milk in glass bottles lately instead of the organic from who knows where; local sources and supporting local business is even more important to us that organic, provided the local dairies use OK practices.

I also think that SOME organic products (like oats or wheat or even apples, sometimes) can be very similar in price to non-organic, and sometimes just taking small steps is a good start, if you want to go more organic.

It is a big issue; thanks for your thoughts!

Phelan said...

gtr, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes we are getting ripped off. Our priorities are slightly skewed. We are willing to pay for cable tv but not healthier foods. Work is more important then tending to family.

You shouldn't feel guilty about wanting better for yourself. And that goes for about everything, not just your food choices.

Normal price would be what the milk producers decide. We are a family that goes through a lot of milk. I recently discovered that half my grocery bill is spent on cow products {meat and dairy} we will be purchasing cows to remedy this. But not everyone has that option. {maybe a cow co-op is needed}of course it is important to buy on your ethics, morals, what have you. But when those are lightly out of range you will sacrifice those beliefs.

you are right, small steps are important. My point was, you can not chastize those that are unable to make bigger changes. It bothers me that people with the money that are trying to change are attacked, and that people that want to change but are unable to, are treated similarly.

Anonymous said...

I understand where you are coming on this topic. We budget a certain amount of money each money for groceries. When I started to buy organic foods, I kind of went gung-ho, to the horror of my husband and our grocery bill skyrocketed. I reigned in my enthusiasm and realized I had to make choices. I started over and am making small changes.I'm learning how to grow an organic garden this year which 6 months ago I never would have thought possible, thanks in part to you and Emme.
Thanks for your post on this.

P.S. I also find sarcasm amazingly effective at times. ;)

Stephanie Appleton said...

Great follow up post to the first one!

Anonymous said...

I made a little experiment for myself by taking a calculator with me to the grocery store and for every non-organic item that went in my basket I found the organic counterpart and added the amount in. By the end of my shopping trip my basket of aprrox. $100 worth of food would have cost me a little over $230 if I would have gone totally organic in my purchases.

I wish at this time I could afford it because it is the better way to go. Someday when we're more financially stable I'll switch us over because it relly is more "worth it" in the long run. It sure would help though if those prices could come down just a tad *chuckle*

Wendy said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment "if you can not afford the initial cost, you will not buy it." It's true for food, but it's also true for all of the other things we "consume." As long as it costs 1/3 more to buy a hybrid vehicle than it does to purchase a gas-powered car, people will buy the latter - to save money.

You should see An Inconvenient Truth - very interesting. And after that check out Who Killed the Electric Car?.

Breezy said...

Two great posts. My saying at the moment is "don't let the best be the enemy of the good" Can't remember where I heard it but I take it as meaning move in the right direction even if you can't get all the way there.

Phelan said...

M, hehe it's fun to be gun-ho until that bill comes. I know that feeling. I am flattered that I have been an enfluence, actually I think that's kind of cool. {come see the homesteaders head grow!}

Stephanie, thank you.

Bug, just a tad would be helpful to many people.

Wendy, it's not just to save money, you just don't have that money. I don't buy new cars because I don't have the money to. And loans get you into a mess of trouble. We found that out early on and paid the loan company twice as much as we borrowed. I have my own issues with hybrid cars, might talk about that later. I had a point in here some where, oh yes, If I only have so much that I am able to spend on somethig, I will buy in my price range. But that being said, there is also an education problem in the US when it comes to money and food. Sometimes the chips look cheaper than the grapes, but by volume they are not. And sometimes, you just crave the chips more.

Karen, thank you. And your right on the money on that one.

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