Food & Drink » Glenda Bartosh on Food

Food and drink: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Who are you voting for with your food dollars?

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Years ago, I caught myself saying something about “voting with my dollars” for some product I believed in. The context was some kind of argument, and I was going to buy it, dammit, whatever it was, to support the concept and whoever or whatever produced it, no matter what it cost.

I can’t even remember what it was that I was so riled up about and why I thought it was so deserving of support, but at the time I was struck by the cleverness and originality of the idea of voting with my dollar. I’d never heard of it before.

Later, I heard the same expression used by a TV commentator and I just about fell on the coffee table. He’d appropriated my expression! Well, who cares, right? Maybe it was one of those serendipitous things, like cultural artifacts that pop up in a hundred different places at once. Whoever invents it and however it enters your lifestyle is irrelevant. It works.

Right now we’re up to our sweaty brows in pre-election fevers of all sorts. If you’re feeling cynical that your vote or a US Democratic vote won’t count anyway, it’s a good time to consider how we all vote, every day, whenever we make choices about what we eat and drink, or anything else we buy, for that matter.

So who and what are you voting for with your food dollars these days? What companies, what chemicals, what trucking outfits, what research or farmers or package designers did you just prop up with your hard-earned bucks when you bought that can of soup, that head of lettuce, that egg salad sandwich? What systems and values? What regions? China? Columbia? British Columbia? Your neighbour’s farm? A family-run coffee bar?

And what did you neglect, pull the plug on, say ix-nay to? What did you weaken by not buying into it, by not giving it any money — capital it can expand with, grow bigger, stronger, more dynamic with?

See? Simple grocery shopping never looks the same after you think of it as voting. It’s like taking your power back.

So in the sprit of this mighty fecund election season, I bring you the following facts, with apologies to Harper’s Index. They might help you decide how to vote in your next daily food election.

 

Glenda’s Handy Consumer Voters’ Index

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