We Get What We Pay For. I'd Just As Soon Pay For Good Health and Good Farming With My Good Food.

Elmwood Stock Farm turkeys, 2008

Elmwood Stock Farm turkeys, 2008

As the season of big meals approaches, it's a good time to consider why the cheapest food usually comes with negative health, economic, and environmental consequences. Case in point: Washington DC Chef Jose Andresasserted this week that the Child Nutrition Act, which faces uncertainty in Congress, adds only six cents per school lunch, when schools need at least a dollar more per lunch to feed children in ways that produce health instead of lifelong illnesses stemming from obesity.  Andres says of the members of Congress, "...they are undercutting the children of this country with their lack of vision and lack of courage."

Another case in point that we can bring right to our own kitchen tables for consideration: the dramatic difference in the costs of conventionally raised turkeys and heritage turkeys. The heritage birds cost many multiples more than their mass produced cousins. In her latest BraveTart post, Stella Parks describes in detail the kind of commitment and patience required to raise heritage turkeys like the ones above, photographed at Elmwood Stock Farm in 2008. Read Stella's description of what farms have to do to raise heritage breeds of turkeys responsibly. Rosco Weber's photographs, inserted in Stella's text, made me realize I have never really given turkeys a careful look. The more you look at Rosco's amazing pictures, the less familiar and more exotic these fowl seem. Bravi, you two BraveTarters.

And the rest of us - let's keep thinking about paying the real, whole cost of growing the food we enjoy so much. We can pay now and support our farmers, or we can pay later for cleaning up the problems industrial agriculture causes as it meets our demand for cheap food. Paying now makes a whole lot more sense. And it tastes better.

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