Is Sustainability Bad For Business?

Avocado tree and orange treeWhile I’ve been learning how to make my land to pay me by farming it, I have noticed some things that make sustainability a tough sell for business. If you look at most of the niches right now that are making money in this tough economy, you will find they are things like nurseries, grocery stores, and discount stores. If most of us learned to grow our own food, what impact would that have on business? It wouldn’t be good. It might be good for us, but maybe not so good for the stores. It makes you wonder what our economy is going to look like when all is said and done.

Fishy Minimum Prices

Has anyone else noticed that the minimum price you can get anything for these days at a store is $3? Need a tomato plant? $3. Need a small packet of nails: $3. It won’t surprise me if restaurants start charging $3 for a glass of water too. Why is this happening when it’s obvious that many of these items don’t have a $3 value? Blame the credit card companies. I think it’s because there is a surcharge on items paid for with credit cards and stores lose money if the price is less than $3 because they still have to pay the surcharge to middlemen, like the credit card companies.

Value Versus Price

In a recession, the thing that sells the most in a consumer’s mind is value. However, value is a personal perception that advertisers and stores know exactly how to manipulate. Ever see the 10 for $10 signs? Is one avocado really worth $1? In California, they are selling them 8 for $1 on the roadside stands. Are cherries really worth $5 to $8 per pound? How much does it cost to plant a cherry tree and how many pounds of fruit do you get out of that cherry tree in one year? Yes, there are cost for transporting them, but I live in an agricultural state where even cultivars for avocados that grow here exist. An avocado is not worth $1 in my mind, just because it came from California, especially if I can grow my own. Cherry trees are the same. If I look at how much it costs me to grow my own versus how much a store charges me, I am paying a mark-up of at least 100 percent on my food, and I would venture to say much, much, more. Is that really value? Why should I have to pay a minimum price because credit card companies are greedy? Is business really interested in being sustainable or being exploitative?

Check out what the Dervaes family did with their land and how you can grow an urban garden too.


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