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Via the all-knowing Sharon Astyk comes this pretty scary fact:

The second-largest merchant-vendor for credit card use is now McDonalds. This suggests that many consumers are in serious distressĀ if they need to get their $4 Big Mac and fries with a credit card.

All the signs indicate that this credit crunch is very bad and getting worse quickly. People are finding it harder and harder to afford food on top of the other debts they are carrying. 2009 looks set to be pretty grim. It makes me think even more about backyard farming, cooperative efforts, bulk food, and food storage. We need more community resilience!

This chart says it all:

Candy and Soft Drinks vs. Fresh Produce

2007 Consumer Expenditures: Candy and Soft Drinks vs. Fresh Produce

Actually, it’s more like: Candy 1, Produce 0.96. But still, the fact that sales of candy, snacks, soft drinks (i.e., liquid candy), and (fergawdsakes) water is beating out sales of produce… well, there’s a ways to go before people are eating well in the USA. I don’t expect that these numbers are terribly different up here. In fact, comparative numbers from around the world would be pretty interesting.

I think that if I had been asked to guess at how these numbers stack up, I would have predicted that produce sales are even lower in comparison to the junk food categories lumped together here.