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The hidden cost of food. {Week 8 CSA}

It’s undeniable that organic food is a privilege for those who can afford it. For many, choosing between a $4 bunch of organic carrots and a $4 family meal at a local fast food restaurant is an obvious one.

Many people chalk the expense of organic food up to the increased labor involved. And this is true—but only partially true. While there is not a singular, universal truth for what drives prices across all organic farms, there are persistent themes throughout our food system that make organic produce relatively expensive. The hard truth is that most of the produce grown in the United States is sold under cost—meaning that its sticker price in the local supermarket does not reflect its true cost of being grown. Enter: government subsidies. The nature of farm subsidies has evolved since the 1930’s when they were introduced to support commodity farms after the Great Depression, and were revised in 2014 to include “crop insurance” instead of solely being direct payments. But with just 10% of farms receiving 75% of the 20 billion tax-payer dollars allotted for subsidies, our food system is disproportionately slanted towards conventional commodity farms (i.e corn & soy). In fact, "specialty crop" farms growing vegetables and fruit are largely ineligible for these well-funded subsidies. It's not that subsidies are bad in theory, it's that the way they’re managed and allotted fuels a massive industrialized food system that takes its toll on our land, water, and health— keeping our diets full of all that extra corn and soy, and their endless streams of cheap derivatives. Amazingly, only 10 percent of the corn grown in our country is actually consumed by humans, and even then, it's rarely in the form of corn on the cob. Instead it shows up as a plethora of ingredients like corn syrup and maltodextrin in almost all processed foods. And while these foods seem incredible inexpensive, it turns out they cost much more than we realize.

As the consequences of conventional farming (and its petrochemical arsenal) mount alongside the increasingly obvious effects of a diet based on chemically-laden processed foods, we’re getting a front-row seat to the hidden costs of our food system. Costs like the effects on our land, water, ecosystems, and carbon production. Or the price we we pay as a society for rapidly increasing diet-related diseases. While many Americans still consider organic to be a slick marketing tactic, studies continue to confirm what anecdotal evidence has long pointed to: pesticides like glyphosate and other antimicrobials are harmful to humans, too. After all, our bodies are made up of 90% microorganisms!

Our subsidy programs support these "externalities" (if one could actually call toxic waters and air and food that) and perpetuate the disparity in food access. You might be wondering why we subsidize the foods that nourish us the least, and the answer has to do with the many industries reliant on that other 90% of commodity crops that aren't directly consumed by us, namely Big Ag (for animal feed) and chemical companies (for corn derivatives like ethanol). But the heavy lobbying and steady demand for subsidies bailing out large conventional farms can't forever hide the toll they take on us all. When we purchase conventional produce and products, we must ask ourselves if all those hidden costs are worth the few dollars of savings? Those are costs that diversified and ecologically mindful farms don’t hide. And it's why getting to know your farmer is so helpful. How else will you know what you're really buying (and buying into)?

Our prices reflect the true cost of growing “food without harm.” Our efforts, along with your conscious choosing of our goods, are the bedrock of a food system built to last. One rainbow box of produce at a time, we’re committed to a sustainable relationship with the land and her bounty.

We must farm with our children's children's children in mind if we wish to

restore our relationship with the land. We're reminded often that they're counting on us.


Inside Your Box This Week

Slicer Tomatoes Little Gem Romaine

Mizuna & Baby Kale

Purple Radishes






Recipes Worth Trying...

{click images to go to recipe}


For supporting our small organic farm.

For helping pave a way forward for regenerative agriculture.

For investing in young farmers.

For buying local.

We're honored to nourish you!


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