the true cost

Ever since posting the link to Wendell Berry's essay, In Distrust of Movements back in June, I've been haunted by the following passage:
Well, all of us who live in the suffering rural landscapes of the United States know that most people are available to those landscapes only recreationally. We see them bicycling or boating or hiking or camping or hunting or fishing or driving along and looking around. They do not, in Mary Austin’s phrase, “summer and winter with the land”. They are unacquainted with the land’s human and natural economies. Though people have not progressed beyond the need to eat food and drink water and wear clothes and live in houses, most people have progressed beyond the domestic arts — the husbandry and wifery of the world — by which those needful things are produced and conserved. In fact, the comparative few who still practise that necessary husbandry and wifery often are inclined to apologize for doing so, having been carefully taught in our education system that those arts are degrading and unworthy of people’s talents. Educated minds, in the modern era, are unlikely to know anything about food and drink, clothing and shelter. In merely taking these things for granted, the modern educated mind reveals itself also to be as superstitious a mind as ever has existed in the world. What could be more superstitious than the idea that money brings forth food? (emphasis mine)
I keep thinking about this idea of believing that currency brings forth clothing and food, and how deeply ingrained I am in the superstition of it all. I don't have a concept of the true cost of things. In Morgan Spurlock's film, Super Size Me (or in the bonus features on that DVD) they raised the idea of the deceit involved in the apparently low price of fast food consumption, and how it hides the true cost to our health of eating that food over time. That reminds me of purchasing meat at the store. The clean meats that haven't been contaminated with cattle-grade hormones and antibiotics certainly costs more, but it's silly to me to think I'm getting a deal by going the other way. I've always thought it would be like a grocery store employee walking the aisles and offering coupons for $1 or $2 of your order today if you and your family will ingest small capsules of steroids and antibiotics designed for livestock. That wouldn't seem like a good deal at all, but how is it different from the reality of the situation?
But how about when I'm shopping at Target, and an item is on sale for a great price? I've been conditioned from an early age to feel excitement over such an event; if I imagine it clearly enough I can create an andrenaline high right here and now. But where was it made? By what machine, or by whose hands? What portion of human life was spent by whom in what part of the world? Was their service valued, compensated for fairly? These are questions to which I can hardly even relate.
The one thing that has anchored me in all this wondering is the experience of knitting garments by hand. It's the one aspect of my life that has me as creator, present to each minute of life and care-filled motion that results in rows and rows of useful stitches. And even though I'm still a consumer in it to some degree (not having grown the livestock and spun the yarns myself, like some women I know), it's the closest I've been able to come lately to knowing the true cost of something.