Sunday, August 30, 2009
I've been really getting into learning about our food lately and what's happening with it. I've seen four movies I'd like to recommend to anyone who might be interested in learning more. I guess I never really thought about it all much until we moved out here to the country and starting setting up farmkeeping. I'll warn you though, it's a slippery slope and the more you learn and the more your eyes are opened, the harder it is to go back. Ignorance may be bliss, but it won't make you healthy. Knowledge will also come with a healthy dose of guilt every time you go or take your kid to McDonald's or let her eat Beanie Weanies or candy or most of the stuff you get in the center of the grocery store.
I think I REALLY started thinking about FOOD when I first read Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". It's about a family (Barbara was already a writer) who moved to Appalachia and only ate food they could find locally or raise themselves for a year. It wasn't perfect, they made some exceptions as any sane person would. But it lead me down other paths and along other tangents until I ended up consuming almost EVERYTHING Michael Pollan has published on food and our food systems. "The Omnivore's Dilemma" was the start. Which led to "In Defense of Food", "The Botany 0f Desire" and then to other authors like Mark Bittman's Food Matters, Paul Robert's book "The End of Food" and countless other articles. The is an entire Mother Jones issue dedicated to FOOD this year.
The four movies I've seen in the last few months (two THIS month" are
Fresh, the Movie
The Future of Food
These all have the common theme of showing how industrialized our food supply has come at the expense of nutrition, diversity and humane treatment of the animals AND farmers who provide it. They also bring home what a MONOPOLY Monsanto has on our food AND it's future. Monsanto has patented LIFE. They control the majority of our seeds now and 80% of the corn you eat (and let me tell you, we are EATING a LOT of corn under a variety of names and guises) is genetically modified. There aren't any long term studies of what that is doing or will do to our health or our future crops. We should be worried about that. At the very least, we should be aware.
Lots of the information is rehashed and repackaged but it's presented in such a way that it is compelling and it makes you want to do something about it.
This year, we'll have been eating our own farm raised chicken, eggs, pork, and more. We've been buying hamburger from Real Farm Foods, Rockin H Ranch in Norwood at the farmer's market http://www.rockinh.net/ and as much organic food as we can justify buying.
We aren't perfect. Some weeks are good, others are not. Today we had McDonald's breakfast, about every junky offering available at Silver Dollar City and Pop Tarts for dinner. Sad but true. But I figure every time we choose something better is a feather in our hat and a blow against the enemy. The enemy is BIG FOOD and Monsanto. But the enemy is also ourselves for continuing to choose to support them. Change is hard and convenience is king.
But we can do better and our family will just keep on trying.