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Friday, October 5, 2012

What Value Do We Really Place On Food?

This site has some wonderful global maps. To get a picture of economies, food production and income spent on food, go to the site and have a play. There is a drop down box at the upper left of the map where you can change the information required and as you roll over the countries, all the stats will appear.
You will get an idea of who grows food and how much of their income is spent on their food. Some of the information is staggering.
As we are in Seed Freedom Fortnight, I would like you to see a bigger picture of food. I would love to know if the stats were pretty much what you thought or if they were a total revelation. What is one thing that blew you away? What conclusions do you draw from some of the stats? 
I find it interesting how little America pays for food, naturally the average income is relatively high compared to most countries and there is a lot of food produced in the area. Given that, does it explain how cheaply food integrity is regarded by countries like America and Australia. I'm talking bigger picture here, not your pockets of natural wholesome food devotees. I'm thinking about the rise and rise of food chains and the fall of farmers profits. I'm thinking of the growing fast food industries and the fact that we think it is normal to abandon our homes and eat the most basic of meals, namely breakfast, outside of the home and prepared by someone else on a regular basis. There are many people eating their breakfast out more than 5 times a week.
Do you think we hold food too cheaply in our esteem?
Here is another good post on food price and quality over at "the Frugal girl" in her post 
"Why do we buy junky cereal to save a dollar or two, but then order $20 takeout on a busy night?"
I hope you head over and have a play with the map and read Frugal Girls post, I'd be interested to know what you think.


  1. Hi Tanya, I've visited Frugal Girl and had a little play on the map and a few points occurred to me. I really agree with Frugal Girl's comments about being reticent to pay more for a good cut of meat or better quality food generally and then spending heaps on inferior food via take aways. I've done that myself...I think it is the social aspect, pressure from kids, a spontaneous meal with friends and being tired that are the cause of this in my household. The best roast wouldn't necessarily solve this one. I was touched by a programme I saw recently that talked about poor people being more overweight than well off people due to them eating poorer cuts of meat..fattier ones and more bread and fried foods. Noteably all of those crumbed shaped things in the supermarket meat aisle are very cheap...but calorie dense. The only healthy option as I see it is to buy in season, on special and with an eye to variety, freshness and price...and when you are not well off, sometimes the vigilence needed is not there when you're tired. The food map..they probably assume we're all on the 'average wage' which hardly anybody is..I think Aussies are often spending far more than ten point something percent on their food bill, especially if you have a larger household...more like at least twenty percent. What do you think? By the way I am also of the opinion that due to the high Aussie dollar other countries are getting as much as they can out of us with their exports and some items sell for very much less in the countries of origin.

  2. Wow! Did I write THAT MUCH?? I hope you don't mind...sorry.

  3. I wasn't really shocked that the U.S. has such cheap food prices. Most of our staples (milk, corn) are highly subsidized by the government and grown on big corporate agriculture farms that over use the land and get paid by the tax payers for the glut. Having the $ to afford local foods, that are more expensive .. but accurately priced to allow the small farmer some income, makes you really choose where you will spend your $ for nutrient dense foods (fresh whole milk, grass fed beef, pastured pork/chickens). Our gov't is too entrenched in signing up people on public assistance programs that there is SO much abuse it would make your head spin. This has led to second, and third generations of people not able or willing to do what it takes to put food on the table .. not any reason to 'get off the welfare' system when they can re-qualify over and over again. Self defeating. In days past there was a social stigma that went with being on welfare. If you had it, you didn't want it for long. That is not true today. Top this off with our weak economy and prolonged high unemployment, we have a big mess.


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