Shannon Hayes: Why are my prices higher than those at the super market? Glad you asked.by Shannon Hayes posted Jan 30, 2012, Yes Magazine
Every week during the growing season, my husband and I cart our family’s grassfed meats to market. We sell pork chops for $11 a pound; ground beef goes for $7.50.
Every week, we meet someone who tells us the prices are too high.
In fact, at those prices, the average net income for our family members has maxed out at $10 per hour. But part of our job is to hold our chins up and accept weekly admonishment for our inability to produce food as cheaply as it
can be found in the grocery store.
The truth is, food in the grocery store is not cheap. We pay for it in advance with our tax dollars, which support farm subsidies that go to support an ecologically problematic industrialized food system. We pay for it with the lives of our soldiers and with the unfathomable military expenditures that support our national reliance on fossil fuels, upon which the industrial farming model is completely dependent. The prices only look cheap because we are paying for them someplace else: through our taxes, and via the destruction of our soil, water, and natural resources through irresponsible farming practices.
The viability of a small farm is dependent not just on garnering a living wage, but on our ability to steward our land in a way that allows it to stay healthy and productive into the future. Industrial food production, in contrast, currently depends on farm subsidies—and on a license to deplete soils and pollute water for immediate profit with no regard for what happens tomorrow. This is our nation’s cheap food policy: Make the food in the grocery store as inexpensive as possible, so that we can justify lower working wages for Americans.