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The Economics of Eating Healthy

Touch the Soil News #280

As of 2010, experts reveal that diet has surpassed smoking as the leading cause of death and disease in America. Wow, not enough affordable food in the system.

Recently we came across another one of those non-profits that is trying to solve not only hunger, but diet and affordable access to the kinds of foods that support health. Called Wholesome Wave, they hit on the nation’s problem of insufficient cash-flows. Wholesome Wave Co-founder and CEO Michel Nischan makes an interesting statement: “Change where money is spent.”

While that is easier said than done, letting dollars simply take their course in a competitive environment limits the extent to which dollars serve as a medium of distribution. We can create tons of food, but the limiting factor has always been distribution. Wholesome Wave’s approach is simply to provide extra cash to those for whom healthy food is not affordable. Taking it a step further, they are involved in a novel approach where physicians see food as medicine and make prescriptions for healthy food. Wholesome Wave provides the financing to fulfill those prescriptions.

Wholseome Wave logo. Their vision is to change where money is spent. Thier flagship program doubles the value of food stamps for shoppers who use them at local farmers markets.

While there are arguments against food subsidies, the arguments are weak. The world runs on subsidies, particularly to wealthy corporations. Then there are fossil fuel subsidies, tax subsidies and other subsidies from public coffers that mainstream Capitalism could not survive without. Wholesome Wave’s idea to change were money is spent could have other applications.

Following is Wholesome Wave’s video pitch about its solution to making eating healthy more affordable and developing the local food chain. Until we figure out how to make cash flow in ways that feed everyone, cash must be purposely spent for that purpose.

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