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MT “Good Deals” on Food in Short Supply

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 By Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - MT, Contact
May 21, 2008

Livingston, MT – Smart shoppers know that finding good deals on food generally means avoiding brand-names and highly processed products. However, there are many hidden costs related to food production that don't occur to many consumers. So, Lill Erickson with the Corporation for the Northern Rockies suggests that buying locally grown and sustainably produced foods may be the best price protection in the long run.

Hidden food costs, Erickson explains, include destruction of fertile land, dependence on expensive fertilizers and pest control methods, and production-related pollution. She admits, however, that it can be difficult to consider those factors when trying to stretch the family food dollar.

"It's very complex. I hope people understand they're not necessarily going to get a 'really good deal' on some things, because the 'really good deal' is an illusion, anyway."

Erickson says the "buy local" trend is getting stronger in Montana, and families aren't the shoppers choosing farmers markets as an outlet for better quality food. A new "Fridays only" market recently opened in Livingston, catering to restaurant owners and chefs, a group Erickson says is especially conscious of the bottom line right now.

"They'll come over, get the foods and then use them in their cuisine Friday evening, and over the weekends, when they have the most customers."

More information on local farmers markets is available online, at

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