The Helpful Gardener
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The Marketing Of Natural Foods

F-san hits on a topic close to my heart; why are we pricing organic higher than conventionally raised crops? His crop was bringing less money, but he was able to work at that price point because of his reduced inputs. We see a different model here because we are attempting organic culture with modern farming. I suspect that will not work economically.

Part of it is certainly the subsidization of conventional agriculture and the decreased cost of monocultural foods because of that. Part is the inability of the market to factor in true costs like pollution or decreased nutritional values. Part of it is the reluctance of the consumer to value clean organic crops over cheaper crappier foodstuffs. Small, niche growing is more labor intensive, and farm labor has been about mechanization for two hundred years, not better food or better environments...

Another part is the middle man, F-san is clear that excess cost is a function of too many hands in the food chain. Direct purchasing from local farmers keeps money in your town and region, gives the farmer fair pay for his services (he keeps more money), and gets you good food without the pollution of shipping.
If natural food is to become widely popular, it must become available locally at a reasonable price.
Hai, Sensei!

HG
Scott Reil

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Yup definitely...

I love my CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. Seems like a win -win. Farmer has a guaranteed market for the produce, paid up front at the beginning of the season, so they know how much money they will make for the season and have it to hand. They don't have to spend time sitting at a farmer's market (next best option) trying to sell their stuff and take home a bunch unsold. Mine is a non-profit organization, so no one is trying to make money for the shareholders or middlemen, just pay the farmers a decent wage and meet all the expenses.

I get fresh local organic produce every week through the growing season. I pay for it partly with the work of my hands, which reduces the money cost and means I am out there seeing how my food is being grown. I know for sure that organic means what it says. (If people don't want to or can't do work they can pay more money.) I like seeing the potatoes and knowing that I helped dig them.

Prices are considerably less than grocery store and the food is considerably better. What's not to like?
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