> A post this a.m. on this tread included the following:
>"GEMA Summary April, 15 1998:
>Amount spent to produce food consumed
>in the US in 1996 (farm cost): $126 billion.
>Amount spent on marketing it: $421 billion"
you mustn't wonder :
In an average american life, an entire year is spent watching
television commercials. by the time they graduate from high
school, typical american teenagers have been exposed to 360,000
advertisements. thousands of consumer messages a day tell
americans to buy things. advertisements are often the only source
of information a consumer has about a product, and as discussed
in the section above on eco-labeling, complex information is
required for a consumer to make an informed decision about the
environmental impact of a product.
half of all purchases are made on impulse. and if an sustainable
agriculture wants to gain land against the agressive
advertisements of their business rivals, they really should think
it over, if it's enough to say: "our products/philosophy speaks
for itself". i do not talk of aggressive and competor-hostile
advertising, but of fair information about the relationship
between income of industrial workers and farmers and the percent
income spent on healthy food vs. other quite useless products.
sustainable agriculture today has one ENORMOUS advantage (thanks
to industry!!). for years the big companies rode the train of
"natural" foods ("all-natural", "no preservatives", "prepared like
at mom's", "aunt sally's cookies", ads with pictures of
undistorted, green meadows, little green dwarfs harvesting little
green peas from little green plants in midst of nice green
fields, farmers caring for their animals like they were their own
children, production of corn flakes (mr. kellog would turn
himself in his grave, if he would see today's production methods
of his label), which perfectly fits into the picture of
sustainability and "in harmony with nature".
and the same picture has become their "kismet" of today. for
years they earned a lot of money (for free) with these adds,
which had nothing to do with reality, but with fooling of
consumers. result: nowadays they have the problem to explain, why
the meanwhile welltrained consumers should shift away from it to
GMO's, functional food or additives. scientific explainations
won't help, no matter how true/honest they are. the ghosts, they
again: sustainable agriculture needs more advertising. that's
something, a lot of organic farmers won't agree with, because
it's meddling with their philosophy. but advertising certainly is
not restricted to tv ads..
and finally you will have to deal with the ethical question,
whether you have to compete unfair, manipulating and wrong ads
with a fair behavior... sociology says NO. (the prisoners'
dilemma, the evolution of cooperation, game theory. btw:
axelrod's "the prisoners' dilemma" - also known as the game of
"tit for tat" shows a nice example, how a altruistric group can
invade a group of aggressive enemies).
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