If you want to get rich, don’t become a vegetable farmer.
Tim Boucher
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People Aren’t Just Undervaluing Vegetables…

…they’re also just NOT EATING them

Here’s part of the problem, at least down here in the “lower 50”:

It’s not just that people aren’t willing to pay farmers what they deserve for buying vegetables. It’s also that people aren’t eating vegetables in the first place. Even in good ol’ “green” Washington State, only about 13% of respondents are eating the recommended intake of 3 cups of veggies per day.

This is really interesting, when you think about it (as dispassionately as possible). First of all, Why Not? It can’t all be because of Evil Corporate Propaganda (though I’m sure that’s a large part of it). Some factors could be:

  • Access: Some people can’t find them even if they can afford them or want them. Not every neighborhood has a good farmer’s market, or even a decent grocery store. This might be a place where “connecting farmers and consumers” via tech could actually help.
  • Status: Eating vegetables isn’t “cool.” I think this might go back to the Middle Ages, when only rich people could afford meat during non-festival/harvest times. This is likely where the Evil Corporate Propaganda comes in. Now meat is “cheaper” in a lot of places (in the short term, anyhow). It’ll be interesting to see if this changes in the next century, given that now vegetables are the expensive status symbols. This also intersects with the “famine food” discussion we’ve been having off-line. Like how lobsters used to be considered “garbage food,” fit only for prisoners and slaves….
  • Affordability: This intersects with your concerns. It’s almost impossible for a) non-wealthy consumers to afford quality, organic veggies and b) organic producers to make a living selling to them. It seems like most organic food producers are kind of stuck selling to “high-end” markets like Whole Foods and restaurants.
  • Education: This is my primary interest, currently: combatting the idea that vegetables “taste bad” and meat “tastes good.” Usually the only people who think that vegetables “taste bad” are the people who don’t know how to prepare them properly! I love meat, too — in a MAJOR WAY. I love everything from halibut cheeks to pork tongues. But, it irritates me to no end when people “shit-talk” vegetables/vegetarians/vegans, because vegetable-centric cuisine can be just as satisfying and flavorful as meat-centered meals.

I dunno; I’d be interested in hearing my co-authors’ thoughts, as well as our readers!

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