Food: The Light Meat, Dark Meat and the Wishbone
By Bill Hyde, PhD, Farmer
Many of you may remember Bill Hyde’s wonderful article on the true cost of food in our Summer 2014 issue (westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-real-cost-of-real-food/). In it, he computed the real cost of a pastured egg, including a small profit for the farmer, at twelve dollars a dozen. He also pointed out that food costs in the U.S. have gone from 17 percent of the family budget to 8 percent; during the same time medical bills have gone from 7 percent of the family budget to 18 percent. So, in a truly viable, sustainable system, we either pony up to those dollar-a-piece eggs or face multi-thousand dollar medical bills later (and sometimes earlier) in life, not to mention the devastation wrought by the kind of industrial farming that brings us cheap eggs.
Hyde is an economist, and therefore looks at the economies (or lack thereof) of small-scale farming in this delightful book of essays. He also explores life’s persistent questions such as: Is it crazy to be a small farmer? Should we eat red meat? Are goats easier to raise than cows (he didn’t ask me, an owner of cows, before he bought his goats, which are the Houdinis of ruminants)? What to do about the horrors of GMOs? How do we put real food instead of food-like substances into our mouths? How do we distinguish between positive and negative externalities (between agriculture that builds soil and improves the environment versus agriculture that extracts and pollutes)? How do we navigate the maze of doublespeak that characterizes food labeling in America?
All this in a small package of very readable essays that are bound to elicit plenty of chuckles—except for the chapter on GMOs. The thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2015