Thursday, March 31, 2011
Global Food Spending
In my experience, when the topic of so-called "health food" (which we used to just call food) arises, one of the most common objections relates to price. People say, "But it is soooo much more expensive!" Compared to a 99 cent cheeseburger at a drive through, I suppose paying a few extra cents for a locally grown strawberry and without much knowledge of the externalized costs of that cheeseburger could be a turn off. So I like to re-frame spending and remind folks of what the graph above points out: It only seems expensive because we have had the option and become accustomed to spending a very small percentage of our incomes on food. How many televisions (aka non-essential items) do you have in your house and how much do you spend a month on cable? The tiny additional cost of that local strawberry seems much more reasonable, right? Not to mention you are supporting local and reducing your own footprint.
The global food map, available with interactive features and a great accompanying article on the Civil Eats website, was designed by Natalie Jones, a graduate student at UC Berkeley. It reveals that we Americans spend less of our income on food than any other country that keeps such data. Wowzers.