3 Shocking Stories in Food News

March 1, 2011

I was extremely dismayed to read these stories this morning. Unfortunately, they show the complete obliviousness with which many people approach what they eat. Particularly sad is the fact that so many people in this world go hungry and their bodies suffer, while people in the United States are never hungry and their bodies similarly suffer, but in much different ways. These articles suggest that awareness about food may not have risen as far as we would like. Let's get out there and do something about it.

1) America's Future Farmers Already Dropping Away (NPR): This report aired on NPR's Weekend Edition. It seems that young people are losing interest in farming, and many young people from family farms plan to leave the business for good. Particularly worrisome are the statistics that show today's farmers are on average, age 57, with a 30% increase in farmers over the age of 75. The number of young people farming has decreased by 20%. Fewer people farming means those who remain see pressure mounting to grow increased quantities of food for agribusinesses. There is a crisis brewing here, but no one wants to deal with it.

Abandoned farm

2) For Every Dollar You Spend on "Food"... (The Daily Green): A new report by the USDA's Economic Research Service looks at how every dollar you spend on food is spent. Farms get 15.8% of that dollar, shockingly little in my eyes. Back in 2006 (before the USDA changed how they calculate the numbers), farmers received 19% of your dollar. Where does the rest of the money go? Well, 18.6% goes to food processing and 33.7% goes to "food services," whatever that means. It seems wrong, in my mind anyway, to pay the person who actually grew the food we consume far less than 20% of each dollar we spend on food. It clearly is not sustainable.

Farmers Tomatoes

3) Rich Americans Flock to Fast Food (CNN): When I read this article, my heart sank. Apparently, as the slow recovery begins from the Great Recession, wealthy Americans have begun to spend again on certain things, but not others. While the idea that only the wealthy can afford to eat in a healthy manner is just a myth, they certainly have the resources to eat right. I worry about this article generalizing a bit too much, but still. Come on. This quote, in particular, irked me:

"I think it's a sacrifice, but when you have to choose between [food] and a pair of Jimmy Choos, I'm going to choose the Jimmy Choos."

Right because unlike those Jimmy Choos, your body won't wear out. Oh, actually it will.

Fast food consumption up among rich

Photos by ZeroOne/ heathervescent/ loop_oh



How's it Taste?'s picture

I'd never heard of Jimmy Choo before just now, but y'know what? If some rich [fill in the blank with your expletive of choice] wants to spend between $500-2000 on a single pair of shoes, vs. eating decent food, jeez, then by all means, more power to them, and their body deserves whatever punishment it takes.

Janice Harper's picture

These articles are important ones and remind us that everything we eat has not just a biological life cycle, but a social one, as well. But I want to point out that people do go hungry in the United States -- over fifty million Americans lived in food insecure households in 2009; just imagine how many are going hungry in 2011.