In Oregon, families on Food Stamps have to make due on $4/day for food.
But what if everyone and everyone were to live on $4/day for food?
I have my doubts as to how sustainable that would be for today’s built up empire of commercial food industry. Stores have to sell a certain percentage of ‘high profit’ items in order to keep the lights on.
Even worse, grocery stores have it in their right to not offer products should the no longer be profitable. Most non-processed items don’t create a lot of profit. It’s the more expensive processed and prepared foods that make the majority of the profit.
That’s why chains like Trader Joes are so profitable. Only do they offer fresh produce when they have become profitable enough through other groceries offered to take a loss on the produce. It’s a real mess. The loss-leader concept is in full effect.
My sense is that we are coming to an in pass in the not too distant future where community farming, backyard micro farming and other “roll your own” methods for feeding our families will become not just a novelty for the well-to-do, but a real necessity for the survival of many families. The cost of groceries as we know it today will undoubtedly reach a point where its cost and availability will reach a critical mass and require the return of self-sustaining food harvesting.
There really isn’t much the government can (or should) do to prevent this. The present day commercial food industry is well out of control and the downward spiral begun. By trying to bail out this failing system, we only make matters worse.
It’s not without precedence either. The victory gardens and food rationing of yesteryear come to mind. While circumstances today are different (i.e. we’re not rationing because of a war), similar consequences are likely in the event of a major (or series of minor) disruptions in the food industry.
In any case, relying on government programs to be around for your existence sounds like a bad idea to me, all politics aside. Having the resources, knowledge and ability to sustain and survive using more independent means seems more reasonable and ought to be something that we as a society place new emphasis on.
How each family gets there is still yet to be seen. There is fortunately a lot of history of families being self sufficient and the pros and cons of different methods. There is also great room for improvement and innovation in how we each grow out own in the future.