I really don’t get it. I don’t. Why do we have to label (with a government owned word mind you) “organic” food and the “conventional” aka gmo/ge/pesticide/herbicide/cafo/factory farmed/hormoned food doesn’t have any label on it except the basic “apple”, “egg”, “corn”, ”pork chop”, etc….
Then you have the other hoop where the term “organic” has many, many loopholes and interpretations and is an expensive label to receive even if your practices go way beyond the government standard of organic. A small family run farm who uses heirloom seeds, rotating pastures, hormone free, truly free ranged livestock who produces enough to sell to the community cannot buy the “organic” label, but then the average consumer says “but you’re not organic” and buys an “organic” banana from Peru in the grocery store.
There is something very backwards and wrong with this system. With our labeling. And the average consumer has so many labels, zing words, dietary ”guide”lines, and conveniences to fight through. 100 years ago that family run farm would have been labeled “food”. The majority of our grandparents ate food. We eat food like substances. We eat science experiments. We eat products that are made to represent our primal food instincts, but in fact are, just like every other product that has a barcode, being sold to us by corporations. We can’t even eat an apple these days without it being prettied up, color enhanced, waxed so it’s shiny. Tomatoes are being picked when they’re green then chemically turned red so that they have a longer shelf life at the grocery store (and have no taste). “Organic Chocolate Milk with DHA” is on the shelves, what is organic about chocolate in milk that is combined with fish oil? Last time I checked fish and cows didn’t meet up too often in the world.
What is the difference between a brand of diapers and a bunch of bananas? Well, truth be told there are more companies selling diapers than there are bananas. That’s a scary thought. Quick name different banana brands. Now name different diaper brands. How can their be just a hand full of companies supplying bananas to the world? (don’t know diapers, try it with toilet paper.) “80% of all our beef, 70% of our lamb, and 65% of our pork (and 90% of all pork produced is raised in CAFOs) in the United States in slaughtered, packed, and sold by only 4 companies.” Four. Under hundreds of different names, but four companies. And only 2% of food purchased comes from local and sustainable sources. “A single egg production…was forced to recall more than 380 million eggs produced by its hens at five plants” (70 million+ eggs from each plant, think about that) “in Iowa, due to risk of salmonella. These eggs were distributed from this one company under at least fifteen brand names across four states”.
You hear all the time that there are food shortages. I actually agree. Not in agreement of the we need mono-cultures and genetically modified foods to feed the word, but that there is a lack of actual food being grown. “In 2010, corn was harvested on 82 million acres of land in the United States” (27% of total cultivated farmland in country). Of this corn planted only one-half of 1% -that’s .5% of the total corn out of 82 million acres- was actual consumable sweet corn. So we have created food deserts. What happens tomorrow when all we have is inedible corn, soy, sugar beets to feed us? We can’t just walk out to the field and grab some ears of corn for our bbq’s? 26.5% of our farmland is just inedible corn.We have to shoot the animals with so many anti-biotics because of their living conditions and they are growing at such a rapid speed on the hormones in their food. We have created meat that cannot be eaten without being washed in ammonia, then if it doesn’t sell it is rinsed again and repackaged. We have created a “pink slime” that is not offensive because it contains meat product, that’s meat and I actually agree with the not wasting of parts, but because of the chemicals and ammonia they put inject into it to make it an appealing food (like product). Not to mention what these farming practices are doing to the top soil, the ground waters, the environment, humanity, food waste. In the US alone, there is an estimated 150 dead zones in coastal waters. A dead zone is an area that has such low levels of oxygen in the water that virtually no life can be sustained. They occur when the area is overloaded with nutrients, such as nitrogen, that cause algae to grow and proliferate. They vary in size each year, but in 2008 was the 2nd largest ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico, larger than the land area of Massachusetts, 8,000 square miles.
There was a tribe in Africa where the British sent in aid workers to “save them” with our Western ways. This group of people had no cancers, no obesities, no diabetes when the workers arrived. Within one generation of eating our processed foods all the common western diseases were present. One generation. This is all new science in the scale of man. We are not learning our ancestors who bit the bullet and tried all of what mother nature had to offer, sometimes eating the wrong mushroom or plant, sometimes discovering the magic of “real” corn over fire- pops! Generations of humans eating what the Earth provided until we decide in the last century that we could do it better, faster, bigger. We have no idea what this new science is doing to our bodies, but we’re fatter, more diseased. Don’t worry the next untested, unregulated diet drug will be on the market tomorrow and I am sure the medical field can take care of it. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more effective to stop paying to reverse the problem and just eat true food in the first place?
Here’s how I see it, we get back to eating real food, from our real farmers in our area. Talk to them, get to know how they are growing your food. Get in the habit. You will fall out of routine with the grocery store and into routine with your farmers market. Or take the shopping part out, join a CSA. Then each week you just have to pick up your goodies. They have all your food groups, I promise, and in real food form…your Grandmother would be proud. You will be surprised at just how hard working and diverse your area is to amazing amounts of food. And you will taste a difference.
Please feel free to email me at LettuceKnow@live.com and I will be happy to help you find resources in your area and give you tips and recipes to make the change.
About the Author, Kate
I had to teach myself to cook and began to learn how to create the dishes I had eaten in my own kitchen. Before long, as my own kitchen confidence grew, friends were calling, texting, emailing daily to ask what they should have for dinner or how to prepare this or what to do what that. And that is how this site came to be.