After listening to the audio book of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, there are a lot of thoughts floating around in my head. These next few blog entries will be an attempt to organize those thoughts and hopefully, urge you to think too. :)
In her book, Barbara talks about how farmers are barely making a living while the rest of us play make believe about the important part being the grocery store. For us, that's the focus, isn't it? Going to the store to pick up food. Rarely stopping to ask where it comes from or how it is grown. In grocery store sales, so little goes to the farmer who actually grew the food, making it almost impossible for farmers to make ends meet, and turning over the responsibility of growing our food to ever larger companies. Companies who have little connection with the land that they work and no relationship to the community where the food is sold. Is that where I want my money to go?
My kids are growing up in a generation that is the first that statistically will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents and in a time where the government advocates that kids eat fruit and vegetables while giving subsidies to commodity crops that get turned into junk (aka high fructose corn syrup).
Everyday we use millions of barrels of fossil fuel to ship food from halfway across the country. We are going to run out of them eventually, depending on fossil fuels to get our food is not something we will we able to continue to do. Produce from Texas and California will someday be a thing of the past.
So we start thinking of doing things different, which usually in our minds equals what we will have to give up(soda, processed food, etc). This book gives new perspective to eating locally. What I can't eat...No, eating is about comfort, nourishment, and delicious smells. We should enjoy it. But restraint=indulgence. When we wait for the season, we taste things that are the freshest and at the peak of their flavor. We shouldn't settle for tastless tomatoes in December, but change our meal plans to accomodate what's in season, and learn to store things to have them out of season. Also, when we eat things that are homemade instead of processed and shipped, we enjoy a superior product!
Additionally, the varieties of fruits and vegetables companies pick, are usually just a few varieties chosen because they look nice on shelves, keep a long time, or transport easily. But relying on just a few varieties makes us more suseptable to pests, disease, and famine. Variety is mother nature's way of ensuring the survival of a species. Using just one variety goes against the evolutionary change necessary for survival.
So, will we allow companies to control the quality of the product we receive? Will we allow them to be in control of the seeds? Will we start to make changes in our food system now, or wait until fossil fuels run out and we are forced to make them? I, for one, will not.
2 days ago