Friday, March 27, 2009

Food cost

How much does a family spend on food these days? It used to be in the 30's that the typical American family would spend about 30% of their income feeding themselves. No it has come down to about 10% (some people spend more on cell phone service than in food!)
Is this fact, cheap food one of the main problems we face in relationship to the environment? Are we running down or environment trying to bring down food price? Big agricultural business are being subsidized and farming has become a mega endeavor driving small farmers out of business. At the same time the real cost of food has been shifted to more transportation, energy and fuel use, and in general environmental degradation that are not included in the price of a lettuce but we all pay one way or another.
A good read for a deeper understanding of how the economy of our society is strongly linked to the environmental framework is Deep Economy by Bill McKibben.   

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Deep Economy

The book by Bill McKibben "Deep Economy" gives a very good insight of things to come. As we look at economic shifts in agriculture during the industrial revolution we see that we have developed an unsustainable system. The economy of the world being more interconnected and interdependent has produced a set of vices that have to be addressed. One of these vices is the way that we measure the cost of our energy. Energy that like food allows us to continue with our species existence. The amount of energy in say lettuce compared with the amount of energy required to produce and transport that same lettuce is so small that it seems ridiculous to eat lettuce for the sake of energy. Of course there are other factors for which we eat lettuce besides "energy" but looking at this balance within a more holistic view a lot can be learned if we do the calculations and put some numbers to work.