Los Angeles

The Real Cost of Subsidies

The graphic above was originally published in 2007 during the Farm Bill debate, but Raj Patel is reminding us again of the hidden costs associated with food that is fast, cheap, and easy. In his new book, The Value of Nothing, Patel examines the hollowness of prices and the danger of equating price with value. Patel shows that what many consumers perceive as a good value–getting a lot of something for as little cash as possible–is only part of the story, and a part that has been given disproportionate importance, particularly in the food system.

The price of a Big Mac and other items of fast or processed food does not reflect the true cost of producing their component parts and delivering it to the consumer. Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation brought this fact to a wider audience, and it’s becoming even more relevant as our elected representatives consider the amount of funding to dedicate to the National School Lunch Program in the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. As we’re learning in the healthcare debate, consumers can pay for real food up front, or pay for fast and processed food down the line in the form of increased healthcare expenditures.

Slow Food is committed to a food system that supports the production and consumption of good, clean, and fair food, and Slow Food Los Angeles encourages you to contact your representatives in Congress to let them know that providing students with good, clean, and fair food is a priority you support.