Tom Philpott wrote both this week and last about Michael Pollan and Alice Waters and their commentary in a New York Times story about rising food prices. I commented in the first posting and argued that both the article, and Philpott, were radically oversimplifying the message that Pollan and Waters have been getting out for years.
One of those basic messages is (and Bill McKibben had said as much as well) that people spend far less on food today than in the past and that the reality is that better food that costs more really isn’t out of reach of most people if they make smart choices about what else they are spending their money on. Here is a perfect example…
For several years I had some neighbors where the family was two parents, three kids, and a grandmother living in the house. These were not rich people but both parents were working. They ended up losing the house because the parents though it more important to buy their high school daughter a car, pay for her cell phone, pay for all sorts of expensive baby clothes for their grandchild, etc. than to pay their mortgage. Needless to say these people weren’t eating very good food either. Obviously their priorities were very misplaced. Had they been a bit wiser on where their money should be going they would probably still be in that house (and it was not a large house). The same thing applies to food spending.
People need to get over the fact that they don’t need the newest shiny techno-bauble, etc. Might they want it? Sure but what the hell ever happened to saving for something? I’m not innocent as I dug myself into a large hole with credit card debt but I’m working my way out of that. I know how hard it can be sometimes but I’m a hell of a lot smarter about how I spend my money these days.
We can’t afford to keep going on this way. The planet can’t take it and neither can we as a society.