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The Problem with Organic Food Fads

Kaleigh B

I found this article on Upworthy which has interesting content but an incredibly misleading title: “Hipsters at Whole Foods May Be Hurting a Lot More People Than They Realize.”

The point of the article is that organic food fads (in this case, kale) are a problem for low-income families. When more and more people buy food that is deemed a “superfood,” a “cancer-fighter,” full of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients, the cost of that food inevitably goes up with the demand. The same is true for organic foods. As more people buy foods that are organic (whether for their own health or to support “sustainable” farmers), the cost of those foods go up. But in a nation of increasing income inequality–in a nation where the poor are getting poorer–the high cost of these foods can be devastating.

It’s especially alarming when we consider how political consumerism is increasingly becoming the new means of political participation. People don’t vote, participate in political parties, join organizations, or go to protests like they used to. Instead, they buy things. We “boycott” and we “buycott.” We support causes and organizations buy buying things. So what happens to the people without money? The people who probably need politics the most are left out of the traditional and the consumer side of politics.

So while “hipsters” buying kale at Whole Foods may be contributing to higher prices, this article title is, in my opinion, a gross simplification of the real problem. Can we really blame the “hipsters” buying kale when the new way of doing things politically is to buy things? Should we tell hipsters to stop buying kale? Should we tell people to stop buying organic altogether? The problem, in my opinion, is our new way of political participation–addressing how that participation manifests itself will only be part of the solution.

The article itself is short and interesting. You can find it here:

http://www.upworthy.com/hipsters-at-whole-foods-may-be-hurting-a-lot-more-people-than-they-realize

3 Comments

  1. urbanferal

    I agree with Kaleigh B here. The article does make a gross oversimplification and leaves out the real issue. Political participation has become more and more money based at all levels, a very problematic situation indeed.

  2. David Cubine

    I’m really not sure what to make of this article. They want affordable organic food, therefore people who can afford it should stop buying it? That’s lazy logic and is a non-solution.

  3. ccceprosperity

    I understand that over priced organic food is a problem because it prevents lower income families from purchasing healthy food. However, I took this article and internalized as a way to identify our problem with expensive “healthy” food and that we need to create alternative models to make healthier food more affordable.

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