“We get to vote three times a day” Michael Pollan
I’ve been watching and re-watching, reading and re-reading, more food and agriculture documentaries and books than usual lately as I more deeeply explore what I want this blog to become, documentaries like Vanishing ofthe Bees, The Future of Food, Frankensteer, Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, and King Corn. Books like Food Matters, The Omnivores Dielmma, Harvest for Hope, and Social Policy for Development.
Part of me is concerned that I’m exposing myself to blatantly bias information but I’m honestly not sure how to get around that. The fact is we continue to have starving people in the world, and industrial farms are increasingly seen as the wrong way to resolve this. We know that people are very concerned about the health consequences of conventionally grown plants and raised animals and GMO’s. And the environment and natural ecosystems are certainly not benefiting from our chemicals and monocultures.
Where, then, is the benefit of modern agriculture? In the cost of our groceries? Well, my view is that food is one of the most important things that we can invest in. Live a pro-active life of prevention rather than a reactive life of treatment. Eating ‘right’ is good for you in terms of both what you are directly ingesting and what is being put into your environment and the infinite indirect consequences.
Monocultures and industrial farming are rapidly depleting soils of natural nutrients thus robbing soils of their ability to restore themselves, and throwing off intricate balances in the environments. These soils require more and more chemical fertilizers to produce viable crops, further polluting the planet and our bodies.
Pesticide and seed companies are in each others pockets or are often the same company, so this small variety of crops that farmers are growing are requiring ever higher amounts of chemicals to grow. Pesticides and insecticides which originated as weapons of chemical warfare are destroying the balance that agriculture, animals, insects and the environment have sustained for hundreds of thousands of years.
These are not hypotheticals. There are noticeable, measurable consequences to how we vote at the grocery store or farmers market.
So, how important is what you choose to eat?