As I thought about it more and more it seemed increasingly unfair that organic was not a viable choice for all. It also didn't make a lot of sense to me - didn't organic food have less stuff in it? Shouldn't less cost less? Alas, so it should seem, but we know business doesn't have to make sense, it only has to make cents!
I needed to get to the bottom of this, for my own complete understanding. I wanted to know what I was paying for really. I know that my intention is to pay for quality food, but I had a feeling that the real expense was coming from something unforeseen.
One of the first things that our organic dollars go to is the manpower. Rather than rely on chemicals and pesticides to kill all of the weeds on a farm, when a farm is organic, they refrain from using these techniques. This does not mean, however, that they allow weeds to grow willy-nilly throughout their crops! In fact, people actually have to go pull out the weeds. This takes time and time = money.
...that seems reasonable to me.
Supply and demand rear their ugly heads into this discussion, driving our prices skyward. It seems that in organic farms have a smaller harvest than non-organic farms. They simply do not produce as much produce! Especially since the demand for certified organic foods is increasing, the prices are following suit.
...this is the unavoidable law of the capitalist world I live in, I guess.
They're On Their Own
Large, non-organic farms receive government subsidies to cover expenses such as pesticides, herbicides and corn. They also do not have to pay for the mess they make of the world around them. In both cases they are covered. If you are wondering where the government is getting that money to pay them, that would be from us, through our tax dollars. Organic farmers are paying for everything beginning to the end, out of pocket - so they put the cost in the product.
...this was the part I worried about.
I am sure there are a whole bunch of other reasons why organic is more expensive than non-organic, but it is this last issue that truly gives me pause. THIS is what we have to stop. We have to stop paying for harmful food. We have to stop paying for it with our money (through our taxes) and we have to stop paying for it with our health! One website that I used as a reference when getting to the bottom of this enigma brought up another very good point - if we truly calculate the dollars and cents spent on the two types of food, we may find that organic is not that expensive. Here is an excerpt from the site's answer to the question "Why is organic food so expensive?":
****JUST FOUND (on 11/4/2010) A LIST OF PLACES THAT GIVE YOU ORGANIC COUPONS!!
THANK YOU THRIFTY MAMA!!!****