Our Food Mission
by David S. Hestrin
We would like to help people eat healthy food. We need to push for a world where the majority of people eat a healthy diet and that diet gets produced in a sustainable and non-destructive/excessively polluting manner. It’s a tricky issue. There are many perspectives about health and sustainability.
Some people really believe that GMO’s are the only way to feed a growing world. Other people really believe that GMO’s will completely destroy biodiversity and produce lower quality food AND that organic can totally feed the world. Others think that the word “organic” does not even mean anything.
Fortunately, everyone agrees that they prefer fresher and tastier food that makes their bodies feel better over less fresh, less tasty food, that makes the body feel bad. We believe that most people would eat more fruits and vegetables if the available fruits and vegetables were of high quality and desirable price.
So we’re starting there.
We would like to see prices of high quality produce go down – and we know how to do it because we’ve been getting better prices for nearly a decade.
It’s simple. Buy in larger quantities from wholesalers or direct from producers – and you will get a better price on everything that has large supply. We have seen prices easily as low as 50% below retail as a regular available option for 20-40 pound purchases of single varieties of items from wholesalers and producers and we can also extrapolate that if a wholesaler sells items at 50% the cost of retail – they too must be making a profit so the price of goods may be as low as 25% of retail.
Prices can actually be as low as 10% of retail based on a cursory look at prices of produce bought at the level of a few thousands of pounds to shipping container quantities (up to around 50,000 pounds).
Part of the price of goods includes the work of distribution and transactions. Things take time. If a seller has to sell to 100 people who are in a line attempting to buy 2 pounds of grapes each… it will take that seller much longer than if they just hand over some boxes containing 200 pounds of grapes. Organized groups of individuals can remove that distribution and transaction cost. They can also save in time. This is especially relevant for people that do not live near farmer’s markets or wholesale markets. Even if a market is 10 minutes away by car, once you factor everything else into traveling, it may take 40 minutes to an hour plus for a person to do their shopping. Take ten people spending an hour each doing their shopping and you have 40 hours per month of people just shopping – the equivalent of a full work week. If one person does the shopping of ten other people, they can easily cut it to 20 hours per month and likely cut it down to less than 10 hours per month.
Cost of goods can also go down if people grow their own or forage their own. We’d like to see more community gardens and areas dedicated to increasing fertility and abundance of food as well as ensuring natural resource availability. Many plants do not require human input for their success at production of edible matter. The cost of goods at some point may only be the energetic cost of actually harvesting the food.
Short story is this: if people organize their purchasing independently they can cut the direct dollar cost of produce by as much as 50%. For many people that will actually alter what they eat – not just save money. In a United States where average fruit and vegetable consumption is often lower than one serving per day… this can make a tremendous impact on our health and future.
Our mission is to see to it that everyone who wants to eat fruits and vegetables grown in manners that actually increase the total fertility and availability of food – can get those foods. We can apply these solutions even for those using SNAP food assistance – many farmer’s markets take SNAP and when people will organize their purchasing, their SNAP dollar purchasing power can double.
How? By each individual being accountable for purchasing one type of item. So perhaps 10-20 people with SNAP go to the market together. 1 person buys the potatoes, another person buys apples, another person buys onions, etc… and then everyone re-distributes… and everyone wins.
Contact David at (510)473-6282 for more information or to contribute.