When someone asks you, “Why does pasture finished meat cost so much more than what I’ve been buying all along in the grocery store?” do you have a good answer? Kendra Kimbirauskas, a food activist, legislative aide, and small diversified farmer has some answers that we thought would be helpful to you.
Kendra raises pastured hogs on her farm, so the differences in the cost of pork is what she focuses on in this video from Cooking Up a Story. But her answers could apply to beef and poultry as well. Concentrated animal feeding operations benefit from economies of scale. So it can be sold at a lower cost. But as Kendra explains, “The costs aren’t gone. They just might not be what you’re paying out of your pocketbook. There are going to be environmental costs associated with raising so many animals in such close confinement. There are going to be economic justice issues…There are potentially health costs…What happens when your antibiotics don’t work anymore because antibiotics have been overused in pork production?”
Kendra brings up these issues and more as examples of costs that we all bear because of the way we as a society raise our food. We appreciate inexpensive food and most of us don’t know about or think about the other costs involved. But when we advocate change, it’s also important to consider the potential impact on a society that relies on low-cost food, and that sometimes, even as cheap as it is, there are segments of society that still can’t afford it.
It is a complex issue, but one that deserves some measured discussion. Meanwhile, for those interested in pasture finished products, they might appreciate knowing what the price includes.
Tablet readers, here’s your link.