What’s in it for me?

I have various search terms logged into various blog readers, and sometimes it comes back with peculiar stories and ideas that need to be said. That is how I came across the following items.

Item one:

The writer of Dethroner, Joel, had recently talked about trying to lose weight, and gave advice along the lines of “Buy pre-packaged foods” and “Eat less than 1,500 calories worth a day”. A commenter, by the name of Grady, followed up by saying “Youâ??ve lectured about how there are things you have to admit to yourself if you want to be successful losing weight. Youâ??re going to have to admit to yourself that you must eat fresh, minimally processed food regularly if you want to be healthy.”

To which Joel responded with the following:

Some of us have lives, jobs, stresses, and realities we face every day that make switching from our unhealthy lifestylesâ??and we know theyâ??re unhealthy; our bodies testifyâ??straight away into a wholly organic, hand-prepared, completely healthy lifestyle. The thought of purchasing and preparing every last bit of food that goes into our bodies is daunting and serves as a bulwark in which we can hunker down with our insecurities to inaction, stocked as it is with cheeseburgers, chocolate milk, and the echoing rejoinders of self-righteous, preening princes like you.

Item two:

There’s a recent Metafilter discussion about the benefits and challenges for eating local, including the following comment:

I can’t keep up anymore…

Are we all supposed to move to the large urban centers because there won’t be enough oil for everyone to have cars and drive all over everywhere?

Or should we all move out to the country because there won’t be enough oil to ship all the food all the way to the urban centers?

Or, should Topeka or Des Moines become the new NYC?

Should I never eat bananas because I don’t live within 100 miles of where they are produced? I’m 500 miles landlocked no matter which direction you go… should seafood be forbidden in the country’s interior?

Instead of expecting the entire world’s population to return to an agrarian lifestyle, finding more efficient ways of transport and cheaper/renewal fuels MIGHT be a tad more productive. These neo-agrarian dreams are just that… dreams.

Item three:
From an article in Adage entitled Organics Fail to Yield Cash Crop for Food Giants:

It’s been enthusiastically embraced by marketers, blessed by Wal-Mart and touted as the holy grail of growth for an industry desperately in need of it. But after a stupendous start, organic foods are looking suspiciously like a sensation sizzling out.

All of these items have a current theme in them which bears looking at. In essence, if advocates of Slow Food, Organic Food or any of the other food movements which have popped up wish to have their movements evolve into the mainstreams consciousness, they’re going to have to answer a question that will be asked of them repeatedly. To wit, “What’s in it for me?”

Before the advocates shrug off the query as insensitive and too chock full o’ self-interest, it’s best to re-examine it and understand that it is a fair question to ask. There are many reasons for people’s food decisions, but chief among them are the effect of the purchase on two valuable components of the purchaser’s resources – time and money.

That “organic food is better for you” or “eating local is better for the environment” and the plethora of societal-improvements that may or may not occur if these ideals moved into the mainstream are certainly compelling reasons for some – Enough so that it allows these movements to get to where they are today.

However, mainstream society often doesn’t work towards societal-improvements. They work towards what’s best for themselves. That often means that they’ll spend three dollars on industrial ground beef instead of 5 dollars per pound of grass fed ground beef, saving themselves two dollars to use elsewhere. It means that they’ll eat a Budget Gourmet for dinner in place of making it themselves in order to allocate the 30 minutes they have saved on a more enjoyable task.

If your food ideals are such that they require a sacrifice of time and/or money, how do you convince an individual with limited time and/or money that those sacrifices are worth making?

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