Why Is Organic Food More Expensive?
Most people assume that organic food cost less to produce. Why wouldn’t they be? Isn’t organic food grown on organic farms that are free from chemicals and pesticides? How expensive could it possibly be to cultivate a farm using the most basic elements that earth supplies – soil, rain and sun? It would be nice if growing organic food was truly this simple. However, it’s a lot more complex than this. The agricultural businesses are heavily subsidized through our tax dollars, whereas organic farms do not receive any government help. This is the reason that conventional foods are far cheaper to buy. Our tax dollars underwrite a substantial part of the financial burden that conventional agriculture incurs.
This ludicrous situation was birthed out of an honorable intent by the American government to help ease the severe food shortage of the Great Depression in the 1930’s. In a desperate attempt to prevent further wide-spread starvation and famine, President Roosevelt introduced the subsidies to help sustain the farm industry. Albeit the subsidies, were predetermined as a temporary solution, the allocation of them persisted far beyond the Depression, developing into the multi-million dollar political platform that it currently is.
Organic food is also more expensive by virtue of agrichemicals that are created to make conventional farming methods cheaper to practice. The agrichemicals agricultural industry was developed with one purpose in mind – to make mass production of food cheaper and quicker. There was never any forethought on nutrition, health or the environment in the design of agrichemicals.
So, has the government conspired against organic food?
I’ll let you answer that question for yourself. Despite the fact that agribusinesses receive government subsidies, there is another vitally reason that hikes up the cost of organic foods – supply and demand. You, as a consumer, tell the government what you are willing to pay for food and what quality of food you want on account of your purchases. Since the demand for conventional food far outweighs the demand for organic food, the government will continue to subsidize traditional agribusinesses thus maintaining the high costs of organic food.
While the demand for conventional food is higher than that of organic food, the issuing of government subsidies to the conventional agricultural industry is an archaic policy that should be defunct. Or at the very least these subsidies should be open to organic farmers as well. Subsidies that are issued to agribusiness are creating an excessive food surplus that is simply disposed of each year. Over 100 billion pounds of food is wasted in America each year and this is largely in part to food production that can’t possibly be eaten. Hunger should not be an issue in America because there is far more food produced in our country than can be consumed. The disturbing fact is that a very small percentage of this surplus actually goes to food banks and organizations that help the needy.
Government subsidies would be better served by helping small local farmers, organic farms, community supported agricultural programs, food co-ops, etc so America can eat healthier and have better quality foods.