You may not be able to read the fine print, but if you click on the photo above, it will enlarge and you can see plainly that this chicken costs $32!! It hasn’t been prepared yet by some fancy chef, it doesn’t do tricks, it can’t shovel your driveway. . . so why does it cost so much!!!? Because it is from California. Because in California, people’s priorities are so different from anywhere else on earth (except maybe Sweden). I took this photo during a gorgeous and relaxing morning at San Francisco’s Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, where everything was similarly ridiculously priced. And people in San Francisco will buy these things. Because to them–what is important is that their food be 1) fed with organic feed 2) allowed to run free and play with all the other eggplants 3) not harm any amoebas or molecules 4) be free from any genetic modification. While I agree with all of these things, I also can’t afford to live like that.
Yesterday, after returning from Fantasy Land, I went to the local cheap grocery store in my neighborhood. I bought an entire week’s worth of vegetables, grains, legumes, etc. for the same price as that 1 chicken. The people in front of me in the checkout line were paying with their groceries with food stamps. They had a list they were working from, which told them what they were allowed to buy and what they weren’t. The entire belt was full of processed foods like Oreo’s, white bread, pork cutlets, and their sole vegetable–frozen turnip greens. When the checkout girl told them they were eligible for $5 credit to buy fresh produce (I think WIC is trying to promote healthy choices), the woman waddled over to the produce section and came back with a tiny little container of raspberries. I almost cried. Okay, I did cry.
How did things get so fucked up? It’s not like we can protest our ridiculous American food industry by not eating. I mean, we could, but then what? We’d be too dead to reap the proverbial fruits of our protest. But to see the disparity between how a priviledged San Francisco eats and what is consumed by a poor family in Brooklyn blew my tiny mind. I feel a new obsession coming on.