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Does voting with your food dollars make a difference?

I love to remind people that each time we choose an organic item over it’s conventional counterpart, we are voting with our dollars. In a capitalist market-driven economy, where there is demand the supply will increase to meet that demand.

In her Huffington Post article, “Vote First, Eat Later,” Susanne Freidberg reminds us that the dollars we spend on food purchases don’t necessarily influence farm legislation, food safety inspections, or desperately needed corporate oversight of the mega food producers.

” But as foods labeled organic and local become more available,” she notes, “it’s worth remembering that these alternatives do not guarantee better working conditions for farm and packhouse workers. They do not touch the crop subsidies that fuel overproduction at home and hunger abroad. They do not fix the weak food safety laws that sent consumers searching for alternatives in the first place.”

I agree, Susanne. Thanks for bringing up a good point. It’s easy to focus on the trees and forget the forest around us.

Susanne points out that many groups are working to overhaul the USDA, strengthen farm workers’ rights, and counter the agribusiness lobby. “These activities deserve our support, yet tend to get overshadowed by shopping tips aimed at “changing the world with every bite.” Wouldn’t it be better if we did not feel obliged to do this? Informed consumer buying power is not trivial. It is also no substitute for political actions to empower everybody to worry less about their food, and enjoy it more.”

Here are some of my favorite groups to support in this mission. Share your favorites in the comments below!

– Environmental Working Group and their Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

– Organic Consumers Association

– Oceana

Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.)

Slow Food

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