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Organic Food Myth Part 1: Is Price the True Barrier?

Posted Aug 21 2009 12:22pm

I’m happy to have as today’s guest columnist, Dr. Brandi Reddick.

Her blog is:  www.thegreenpharmacist.wordpress.com

Organic Food Myth Part 1: Is Price the True Barrier?

 I have begun to evaluate each cliché as being a myth or a truth.  We have all heard the overused, watered down one-liners such as “you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else,”  “money doesn’t buy happiness” and “blood is thicker than water.”  I have noticed that half of the clichés are actually true and we are quick to say these without living them.   “You have to love yourself before anyone else” is true but most people don’t understand how to put it into action.  Other clichés are actually false and we end up believing them, which can negatively affect our lives.  The now common cliché myth that  “organic food is expensive” is an example of the latter false cliché.   I have to add a partially true cliché of “if I had a dollar for every time I heard this I would be rich “ on top of the false “organic food is expensive” cliché in order to equal the whole truth that I actually would be slightly more well off (maybe not rich) if I did get a dollar for every time I heard that organic food was more expensive.

So I began to evaluate the organic/high cost cliché:

  • Eating out is expensive.  No one questions that the cost of an ~ $8 fast food hamburger combo can buy a pack of ground beef to make several hamburgers.
  • An ~ $8 artificial fast food hamburger combo can buy a pack of organic grass-fed ground beef to make > than 1 burger.
  • Specialty and/or prepared foods are expensive whether it’s organic or conventional.  Buying a bottle of lemonade is more expensive than the sum of its parts when measuring cost/unit. If I bought the lemons and added sugar to filtered tap water at home, I could make  large amounts of lemonade.
  • Some organics are actually more expensive but some are remarkably less expensive.  I’ve been surprised more than once so perform your own case study.
  • Through A) coupons B) store specials C) CSA’s D) farmer’s markets E) buying store brand organics F) cooking dishes from the original whole foods  (e.g. lemonade example) and G) growing your own organic garden, price becomes less of an obstacle.
  • Don’t carry a $900 Gucci purse, buy a daily $4 cup of coffee and tell me organic food is unaffordable!

 I believe that lack of access and education about the importance of organic products is a greater deterrent than price alone.  It is hard to find restaurants that have organic options.  I would like to be able to pull into a fast food organic restaurant the same way we can pull up to McDonalds. I have noticed when looking at TV shows that display celebrity lives or lives of the wealthy, that their refrigerators are stocked with popular Standard American Diet food and drinks. Additionally, celebrities often endorse conventional food and cosmetic products through magazine ads and commercials.  Price is certainly not a barrier in these cases – so what is the true obstacle?

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