Why Voting with Your Food Dollars Doesn’t Work.
by Sean Croxton
Vote with your food dollars.
With activism at its core and clear purpose in its actions, this frequently heard foodie maxim has become the battle cry for those of us demanding change in our food system.
On its face, food dollar voting is intended to support those who do it the right way — the farmers who rotate their crops, protect the integrity of their soils, feed their animals their proper diets, and provide their customers, you and me, with real organic produce and pastured meats and eggs.
It just feels so warm and fuzzy. Sustainable, too.
But on the flip side of all of that warmth and fuzziness are the ones who come out on the short end of our votes — the farmers who do it the wrong way.
To hell with them, you might say. They raise monocrops. They erode their soils with harsh chemicals and tillage. They confine their animals, feeding them grains and antibiotics. And then they have the nerve to sell their sick foods to paying customers in the name of health.
The prevailing consumer solution for the horrendous stewardship of conventional farmers has been to take money out of their pockets by casting fiscal votes for the good guys, the ones who do it right. Then at some point, the ones who do it wrong will get the message and change their ways.
If it were only that simple.