This image was published a while ago, but I recently saw it recirculating around Facebook so I thought I would post it. Why a salad (and fresh fruits and vegetables in general) costs more than a Big Mac is because the federal farm bill arranges it that way. Federal subsidies give money to farmers who produce certain crops. As of right now, “specialty crops,” which include fruits and vegetables, receive less than 1% of the subsidies. The rest, as you can see, goes to meat, dairy, corn, and soy, which end up in our school lunches, grocery stores, and fast food restaurants, for cheap:
Now, there are lots of issues going on with the farm bill. A large percentage of the corn it subsidizes goes to producing biofuels, which means less food for hungry people. The richest 5% of farmers receive the majority of subsidy payments, and 3 in 5 farmers receive nothing. Very little money goes to subsidizing organic farmers. And on and on. But the issue I most find upsetting is the lack of support for farmers that produce fruits and vegetables. This is what we need more of in our diet, and the farm bill doesn’t make it easier for farmers to produce these crops.
For more information on the farm bill, see here, here, and here. And if you’re so inclined, contact your representative to tell them to support more funding for the growing of fruits and vegetables. We need these healthy foods to be more ubiquitous and more affordable.
p.s. Most of the information I wrote here I learned last weekend at a conference called Everybody Eats: Cultivating Food Democracy. I went to a talk hosted by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow’s assistant. Senator Stabenow is the chairperson of the Senate agriculture committee and seems to be doing some good things to fight for funding for specialty crops. Who knows what Congress will end up doing though…