Cost of Food

What is the true cost of getting food from farmland to kitchen tables?

In major cities of North America, it seems so easy. I have 2 major grocery stores 2 blocks from my home. I can easily walk to one of them in almost any kind of weather and buy whatever my palate desires. Better yet, in the case of one of the stores, I can do that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for a small number of major holidays.

In this item in the Globe and Mail, I am being told that farming is one of the most energy-intensive industries in the world. From fertilizer to farm machinery, most modern agriculture is really about turning hydrocarbons into food.

Due to heavy use of fertilizers and farm mechanization, energy represents 50% of the cost of growing wheat. Ten years ago it was only 30%. That tells me right away that a world of rising energy costs translates directly into a world of rising food costs.

One idea that has been floated is to add an “energy cost” item to the labels on food. This is already being done in some places. Then, those of us who want to try and make a difference can buy “low energy” foods.

The whole “eat local produce” move will be getting stronger in coming years. Watch for it and please let me know your thoughts on this issue, by using the comment section.

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