Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food
Horror stories about the food industry have been with us since 1906, when Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle told ugly truths about how America produces its meat. Nowadays, things have got much better, and in some ways much worse. The U.S. agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Some of those hidden prices are the erosion of fertile farmland and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals.
Some Americans are noticing such warnings and working to transform the way the country eats — farmers who are raising sustainable food in ways that don't ruin the earth. Documentaries and the work of journalists are reprising Sinclair's work, awakening a sleeping public to the realities of how we eat. Change is also coming from the very top. First Lady Michelle Obama's White House garden has so far raised a lot of organic produce — and tons of powerful symbolism. Nevertheless, despite increasing public awareness, sustainable agriculture, remains a tiny enterprise: according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, less than 1% of American cropland is farmed organically. Sustainable food is also pricier than conventional food and harder to find.
Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland and high health costs. Sustainable food has an elitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants. And as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you. By BRYAN WALSH Friday, Aug. 21, 2009.
(Adapted from: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458,00.html.)
The problem with organic food is that it is_______________________ than conventional food.