| By Carmella Arroyo
The real cost of food doesn’t only involve our actual money, but it can also cost us our local farmers, our community, our environment and our own health. How are we going to compromise on our own food but have it affect some of the most valuable and priceless things in our lives? Our chase for this “quick and convenient” food holds us all liable for the consequences that come along with it. Being aware of the real costs of today’s food can change and hopefully close this immoral era of “budget-friendly” food.
Most of your food should be coming from local farmers instead of big factories but unfortunately local farmers are forced to leave their own lands to these big factories. Many people forget how difficult farming can be and how hard they work for others to be able to set food on their tables. Farmers do what they do because they love the life that comes with it. Our society of this new food culture has made such a big change that it’s hard for farmers to still do so. A big cost for cheap food is our farmers and it is causing them to leave their lands – some lead into depression, and some sadly commit suicide. The sense of community that farmers need, isn’t as strong as it was anymore.
You’d think that buying a quick meal at a drive thru or buying those pre-packaged produce bags will save you time, but when you realize all the little things really do add up – it really isn’t that cheap. Yes, it can be convenient to buy a bag of prewashed and pre-cut romaine lettuce but if you want to save your money, then just buy the head of a romaine lettuce and do it yourself at home. Another cost to think about is how we almost have it “too good” when it comes to convenient restaurant food. Restaurants know that to make a customer happy; they need to have everything a customer could ever want – and lots of it. This can lead to our portion sizes being excessive and plenty of food that is wasted daily.
When you think about the food we waste and how food is “made” today, it really is damaging to the environment. All the food that is wasted will end up in giant landfills. This produces a large amount of methane, which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – which is produced in landfills as well. With an excess amount of these greenhouse gases, they can absorb infrared radiation and heat up the earth’s atmosphere. This can cause global warming and damaging climate change to our earth.
All these factors may seem out of your control, but a great way to start is with your own health. Many convenient foods can contain multiple chemical pesticides; ones like benzoates, nitrates, and sulphites. Only having “convenient” foods in your diet can lead to plenty of health problems; type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. Making sure you know where your food is coming from and cooking it yourself can lessen all these risks and lead to a healthier lifestyle. The trick to this is to stay local with your food. Buy as much as you can at local farmers markets and get familiar with your local community.
When we’re fully aware of how and where our food is made, we can really change the unfortunate culture that our food source has “artificially” grown into. A lot of these factors can feel out of your reach, but to make a better tomorrow – we need to start what’s best for today. Here’s to an end of cheap artificial food and a start to your healthier and brighter beginning.