I pay $6 for a dozen large eggs from Growing Things Farm. The eggs are delicious and as fresh as they come but I’ve started to wonder if “eating local” is accessible to those of us eating on a budget. I was reminded of this question when listening to Anna Lappe’ , author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and co-founder of the Small Planet Institute. She spoke about why the true cost of “cheap” food should include the long-term cost of health care resulting from diseases caused by obesity, such as diabetes and coronary problems. Not to mention the “cost” to our environment by the increase of greenhouse emissions and loss of farmland.
Is it a luxury to look at the big picture when your biggest concern is getting food on the table for you and your family?
I was interested to see a group of Seattle University students with a display and flyers at the Farmers Market. They conducted a study for their business statistics class looking at some of these questions. The premise of their study is “the common perception among many shoppers is that the local farmers market offers premium produce, but at a premium price.” The students compared prices at the University Farmers Market with the Roosevelt Square Whole Foods and the University Village QFC.
The results of their study were surprising. On the average, the price per lb. was greatest at the QFC, followed by Whole Foods and lastly the Farmers Market. The comparisons were made with organic produce such as apples, beets, potatoes and carrots. So while these items may cost more per lb than a box of macaroni, you can rest assured that the local food you buy at the Farmers Market is often less expensive than at neighboring grocery stores and at the same time, you are supporting your local farmers, helping to preserve our farmland and enjoying the taste and health benefits of eating freshly picked produce.
For more info about this study contact Carole Triem. triemc@ seattleu.edu