By now everybody has heard about the massive egg recall due to a salmonella outbreak affecting 380 million eggs. Unfortunately for the West Valley City council they recently decided that they wouldn't vote on a proposal that would allow residents to keep backyard "urban" chickens. Of course this news is horrible timing for the city council. Hopefully residents of WVC will use this recall as leverage to get the city council to reconsider. A few backyard chickens can be a fun hobby for families who might otherwise not have the chance to be involved in farming even if it is on a small scale. Chickens offer a natural way to keep insects down thereby reducing/eliminating the need for harmful pesticides. They earn their keep with delicious, nutritious eggs.
In some of the documentaries like Food Inc and Fresh, Michael Pollan explains how cheap food isn't really cheap. That somewhere a price is paid. This recall and all the others we have seen this year are good examples of the price that is paid. I haven't bought eggs from the store in years but I would imagine that they are probably priced around $1.50-$2.00/dozen. Most local farms sell eggs for $3.00/dozen. Why the increased cost? Scales of economy obviously come into play here as does the use of government subsidized grain. Most small producers buy local unsubsidized grain which costs more than the grain the big CAFO operations are buying. Naturally the costs are going to be a little higher. For those who raise their own eggs or buy fresh local eggs, they can attest to the enormous flavor difference and as well as quality difference. One of the contributing factors to these outbreaks is the routine use of antibiotics which help build superbugs. I am sure none of this information is new to readers of this blog. Aside from the increased nutritional value and resulting increased health to the consumer, consider the cost difference. $1 to $1.50 savings every week or two.
Now consider the cost of getting sick with salmonella. Visit to the doctor, usually an emergency visit, missed work, prescriptions, etc... not to mention the risk of further illness with a compromised immune system. The bottom line, is that eating fresh and local, is cheaper in the long run. Not to mention you will likely enjoy a higher quality of life, that nutritious food offers.
Your body is worth it and you will enjoy the food more as it tastes much better. Consider all the costs next time you consider buying from factory produced food.