Sorry guys, no photos of delicious food here, just a discussion on the importance of valuing our food.
Rachel Carson was a conservationalist in the 50s and she published the very important and influential book, Silent Spring in 1962. Today, that book turns 50 years old. And let me tell you, Rachel would not be happy with where we are today. The book discusses the importance of recognizing the danger of pesticides and protecting the environment from pollution. I don’t want to tell you all about the book because I think you should read it. I KNOW you should read it. Please read it, I implore you.
And yet, despite all her dire warnings and predictions, it seems that we have done nothing to curb the impact that pesticides have on our world. Today we have pesticides being developed to trump the previous ones because the weeds and/or pests have grown tolerant to them. Over and over again. What does that mean? More and stronger pests and weeds! More and stronger pesticides! On our food! That goes in our bodies! You know what else has happened recently? An increase in allergies, gluten intolerance, infertility etc. Weird. What are we doing to our food? We are cheapening one of the MOST important things in our lives. Something vital to our existence!
Not only are we reducing the value of our food, we are threatening the safety of our planet. The chemicals used on farms are washed into our waterways, poisoning them – sickening and killing wildlife. The fertilizers promote algae blooms in ponds and lakes which suffocate the ecosystems of the water! Buh bye fish. Oh, that’s food too. Good bye, food.
Did you know that food prices in the United States are already some of the lowest in the world? Not at all ironically, we also have an obesity problem. Connect the dots? If we assigned the true value that it deserves to our food we would both eat healthier and eat less. Go back to the roots of food. We do not need so much pesticide! There are so many non-chemical ways to protect crops.
Did you know that the flowers, Marigolds, naturally keep many pests away from crops? How about crop rotation? Crop rotation first of all gives the soil a chance to catch its breath and maintain fertility – aka you need less chemical fertilizer. Secondly, pests are pretty specific when it comes to what plants they attack. So, by rotating crops you break the pest cycle. Less pesticide use! Constituents of chemical fertilizers AND pesticides can be incorporated in your food through its feeding process. These are just a couple of methods of reducing the amount of chemicals applied to your food.
This sounds easy right? Right. Wait, wrong! Because of the enormity of the US’s giant food companies, making these changes is nigh impossible (I’m singling out the US because the EU and other countries seem to have a pretty good hold on improving their agricultural systems). They have so much money it makes them incredibly difficult to compete with! The poor small and/or organic farmers barely stand a chance. Which is part of the reason why your organic food prices are high, by the way.
Also, they get a lot of government funding. Why? They make so much money and are already so powerful. Why are we still giving them depression-era subsidies? What? Yeah. That’s your tax money at work. And why don’t the little farms get similar funding? The top 1% of farm and farm related companies (what?!) received 17% of all subsides in 2002. And do NOT get me started on corn.
The possibility of continuing down the current chemical pesticide/fertilizer laden path that our nation is on truly frightens me. What does it mean for us? What does it mean for our future generations? The world as a whole? We don’t really KNOW what effects these chemicals are truly having on our bodies. Very little testing has been done on this matter, and much testing that has been done has been met with battles from and/or silenced by the big agricultural giants. Why are we taking this risk when we have the alternative of eating unadulterated food while they truly test out the effects these chemicals have on humans and the environment?
What can be done about it? First, ask yourself if you are willing to gamble with the health of your future generations, your family’s health, and the health of the planet? Then, make the difficult step towards truly valuing your food. It may be difficult, but it is the easiest way to make your opinion known. Pay a little more to make organic foods, GMO free foods, etc part of your shopping list. These foods are required to be synthetic pesticide and petroleum-based fertilizer free. Make an effort to research your local farms! Many small farmers practice organic or near-organic farming and raise free-range livestock but do not specifically obtain the designation of Organic, to avoid the costs/regulations associated. Buy from them! The fact that they’re local helps the environment as well, through reduced emissions. Also, eat less meat, we eat far more than a healthy amount of meat as a nation already. Eat more vegetables. Diversify your diet!
Get involved. Go to farmer’s markets. Learn about what you’re eating. Care about what you’re eating!
Most importantly, talk about it with your friends and family.
Thanks for reading!