Cheap Food vs. Real Food

Reader Contribution by Nicole Wilkey
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Do you feel a connection to your food? For some years now, even before we began this homestead and farming life, I have tried to become much more conscious about what it took for that food to reach my plate. Be it an animal product or produce – there was a person, often many, behind the success of that product. Shelter, food, water, nutrients & nurturing were all required and were provided from “birth” to harvest time.

I have had these thoughts each time we have harvested a pig, a chicken, a thanksgiving turkey, eaten an egg laid by our hens or when harvesting produce from the garden. Take for example, harvesting chamomile from the garden every other day when it is in its peak season. It’s somewhat tedious and takes some time as the blooms are small and the plant is large, clipping hundreds of flowers a few times a week to dry for future cups of tea. As I work, I keep thinking to myself – it’s not just the big things like a pork chop, a rotisserie chicken or a dozen eggs, we should pause and think about how it arrived to be in our kitchen. It’s the small things too, ones that don’t even cross our minds that also matter, like a nightly cup of chamomile tea, a glass of wine, even the salt and peppercorns used to season nearly every single meal. How were those things grown and harvested? Are they good quality? Were they hand or machine harvested? Did they live as nature intended or were they confined and pumped full of chemicals?

When you experience the process in its entirety, raising an animal for meat or planting a vegetable seed to harvest produce months later for dinner, you realize all that really goes into it. As we approach Thanksgiving here in the USA and most everyone is headed out to buy a Thanksgiving bird soon, it weighs heavy on my mind. Next time you see meat on sale for $0.29/pound or produce on sale for $0.10/pound, pause and wonder what kind of life did it have. Was it a good life? Something of high quality that you are proud to feed your family? Or did it have a sad life? I can appreciate that not all families are able to afford to buy 100% organic and pasture raised products or can shop at Whole Foods {or similar}, but that’s not the point though. The point is, being conscious and aware of how your meal arrived onto your plate and appreciating all of the work and life that went into it to sustain you. Opening our eyes more to the world of food- the weeks and months of production it takes for a 15 minute meal, the foods that may harm us in their way of production and the foods that may heal us in their consumption. By becoming more aware the moral question changes from “why is this so expensive?” to “why is this so cheap?” Food for thought.

Nicole Wilkey transitioned from a corporate job to small-scale farmer in 2015. Since then she has run California basedFlicker Farmto accommodate meat pigs, mini Juliana pigs, pasture based poultry and sellsgoats milk soap and lotion on Etsy. Connect with Nicole onInstagramandFacebook.

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