Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blog Action Day 2014: Inequality

It's Blog Action Day again, and this year's theme is Inequality.

There are two kinds of inequality that I'd like to discuss, and I'll leave it to the comments section to decide the correlation between the two.

The first, and no doubt the one that the Blog action Day committee had in mind when they chose the theme, refers to the social and economic equality with which every country in the world still struggles. The income gap is wider than it has ever been, and only continuing to grow. What's noteworthy about this post-industrial inequality is that, in many places, it isn't that poor don't have access to enough food, it's that they don't have access to the right kinds of food. Which brings me to the second kind of inequality: nutritional inequality, and the idea that simply maintaining a minimum number of calories is not what will keep us from starving, or from developing terminal diet-related illnesses.

I made my weekly grocery shopping pilgrimage today, and, as usual, it was a pretty time consuming ordeal. I've been starting out my trips at Whole Foods in search of the best quality produce and meat, and then filling in the non-perishables at Star Market, my rationale being that the middle aisle type products are a lost cause, nutritionally, so I may as well get the cheap ones. It's not an efficient system, and I'm not entirely convinced that it's all that cost effective either, but for now it's what I've got.

While the idea of inequality was on mind, as was my tight budget, I looked at all the different kinds of inequality on display at both stores: fresh vs. packaged, whole vs. processed, organic vs. conventional. And that's before you even get to the simple differences in personal taste that, in my opinion, should be the only thing you really have to worry about at the grocery store: will I like this or not?

The idea that things like price and nutritional content carry too much weight in our omnivore's dilemma is not a new one, but it always bears looking at from different angles, since the problem only seems to be getting worse, not better.

What kinds of inequalities do you notice most when buying food?

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