The true cost of food

The catering of film productions is crucial. But good food has its price. Organic food is an option which is often considered as too expensive. But besides the price there are consequences of food production such as impacts on health, climate, water quality and soil erosion that never featured in balance sheets. For this reason, the organic fruit and vegetable distributor Eosta filed a report that compares the true cost of producing organic fruit with conventional products.





“We have found large differences between the impacts of organic and conventional production. For example, the calculation shows a 19 eurocents per kilo advantage for organic apples in health impact”, says Eosta CEO Volkert Engelsman. “The report makes clear that organic food is not too expensive, but rather conventional food is too cheap.”


The True Cost Accounting in Farming and Finance pilot programme was presented at the Harmony in Food and Farming Conference in Wales where Prince Charles congratulated Eosta on the results. The Prince of Wales criticized that in economy and farming all that matters is the bottom line and pointed out that our society needs a more inclusive approach in the way our entire economy is geared. As one of the organic food pioneers, the Prince of Wales founded the Duchy Home Farm in Gloucestershire in 1986. How it works shows the documentary The Farmer and his Prince by Director/ Producer Bertram Verhaag.





For the Prince, agriculture is not just as any other business. “Agriculture is very different from other economic activities, because it has the long term responsibility for the precious life necessities we get from nature.“ Committed to the protection of rainforests, questions of climate change, and to the conservation of threatened animal and plant species, he sees the need for True Cost Accounting tools.



"Yet in my lifetime I have watched the industrialization of food production turn the living organism of an individual farm into little more than a factory where finite raw materials are fed in at one end and food of varying quality comes out the other", says Prince Charles. This approach has to change: "We have to find ways of bringing a widespread transition to farming where farms become more balanced and harmonious entities within nature, within their communities and certainly within the capacity of the planet."


"There is no technical reason why farms cannot become more diverse nor why they cannot care more for the soil they depend upon; nor why farm animals can be treated mor humanely. Restoring harmony to farming, in many ways means having to put back much as you take out." The prince sees no reason why food cannot be produced in ways that enhance biodiversity rather than destroy it.


"We should include the true cost in the bottom line of our profit calculation, rather than exclude them. Otherwise our capacity to feed the world’s rising population, on the back of an increasingly weakened ecosystem, will lead to conflict and misery on an unimaginable scale.”


Photos: © Eosta/ Denkmal Film Verhaag

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