Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The real problem with industrial agriculture

Is consumer prefrence.

Bugs aren't bad for us. They're not poisonous, and, in most cases, don't eat a lot of food. Crops aren't destroyed by bugs. They're tarnished. They get little divots, blemishes and holes. But they're not rendered inedible. At least, not in the medical sense.

They do become, however, harder to sell. Consumers like pretty food. People don't like to eat after, or find bugs. And we'll pay more for prettier food. So the prety stuff goes to the produce aisle and gets a premium. The ugly stuff turns into juice. Or sauce. Or canned.

So farmers spray their crops to kill the bugs. Their now pretty, bug-less product will fetch a higher price.

So the next time you pick out only the pretty apples, remind yourself that you're casting another vote for pesticides.