The Cost of Organic Food

It’s an accepted fact that organic food costs more than food raised using conventional farming techniques. I’m not sure, however, that this additional cost is actually warranted. That doesn’t mean, though, that we won’t continue to pay more for food that is “certified organic.” We will.

The reason given for the higher price of organic food is that raising food using organic methods is more labor intensive and that there is less production per acre. Maybe. But I kind of think that prices are governed more by the supply vs. demand equation than any other factor.

If a miracle happened and the market was suddenly flooded with “certified organic” food, the price would drop like a rock. If there was more supply than demand, the price that could be charged would become much more competitive and would decrease. That’s just the way the world works.

Of course, that miracle isn’t likely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. Only 2% of the land in the whole world is dedicated to producing food using organic farming and ranching techniques. More that 2% of the world’s population demands organic food, and the number is growing larger by the day.

But supply and demand is a one-way street. When demand increases, it’s a pretty good bet that supply is going to increase as well. When supply catches up or surpasses demand, organically grown food will get cheaper. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

So, I pay more for organic food. I will continue to do so. The fact is, I’d rather give the money to the producers of the organic food than to give it to the doctors to try to cure me of whatever was caused by all that pesticide residue that’s on fruits and vegetables and heaven-knows-what kind of antibiotics and growth hormones are in meat and dairy products.

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