There were ten of us at dinner last night. The conversation turned to food, and its cost and quality. Everyone there was involved somehow in growing, distributing, buying, or financing. We were united in our belief that we’re fucked.

The common conditioning is that we should expect to pay less for more – Costco sized amounts at ‘budget’ prices. Any wonder why as North Americans we are in such a contradictory state of being over fed and under nourished?

One grocery store chain in town is selling thanksgiving turkeys at less than a buck a pound. That means a bird that will feed a family of 5 has to be hatched, housed, fed, watered, raised, killed, prepared, packaged, and shipped all for less than $15. Something has to give – and that likely is the farmer, the welfare of the animal, and ultimately the nutrition and taste. One producer who talks about his ‘certified’ turkeys – explains that  they never go outside, and that they have both their beaks and toes cut off so they are better protected in the crowded barns.

We eat because of farmers. It has become almost impossible for farms to stay running given the pressure on price. The big box grocery chains and fast food outlets have built an expectation that food is cheap – so the trickle down effect is how much the producer is paid to grow carrots, or pigs, or turkeys. It can’t be done without significant compromise. In the effort to just make mortgage payments and feed their own families, farmers succumb and do what they’re told.

In Canada this week, we’ll all be buying groceries for next weekend’s Thanksgiving. As the potatoes, yams, turkey, and maybe even brussel sprouts go into the cart, think about the folks that made all that possible, and how much it’s really worth to you.