Food Thoughts

“All beings have a natural right to sustenance” is the ultimate truth.  The earth and the natural vegetation that exists on it used to be common wealth of the people.  Indigenous peoples would survive off of the land and never thought of it as “theirs” but Mother Nature’s.  The commodity of food was eventually necessary and unavoidable, but today’s system of industrialized agriculture has turned it from being a form of sustenance for farmers, and a local trade for citizens into an international grain trade, fused with chemicals.  Shiva states, “Whatever exists is born of food.”  We are using inorganic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and genetically modified seeds to grow our food.  None of these chemicals occur naturally in food production, and need to be strongly monitored.

As consumers, instead of looking closely at what will make up our bodies, we are according to Wendell Berry “passive, uncritical, and dependent” on fast, cheap, unhealthy food.  This instant, starched, nutrition-less food is oh-so readily available, and almost too convenient for the lower class America who reside in food deserts, starved of fresh food.  Since most of America is moving towards cities, and since farms are being industrialized to the point of monstrosities, small farmers are being wiped off of the map.  Most people grow up away from farms, and have an innate disconnect from where their food actually comes from.  To many children in America today, the fluorescent supermarket isles are their fertile crop fields.  They have never seen the connection, and we have become disconnected from what sustains us as human beings.  In the Pleasantries of Eating, Wendell Berry says, “A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes.”  The satisfaction that comes from eating a vegetable that arose from your own soil comes not only from its unfathomable freshness, but also from the realization it’s like growing your own money.  Independence from the looming conglomerate of Monsanto and others is scary, but beatable.

            The documentary Fresh was actually quite refreshing, and eye opening.  It reminded me of the importance of thinking local, eating local, and spending local.  Sustainable economies support themselves through local ingenuity and connections.  By localizing the food markets as much as possible, we reduce our awful dependence on the major industry players, and on fossil fuels.  With the introduction of industrial agriculture, food went from being grown by 100% solar power with natural fertilizers, to being dependent on fossil fuels through motorized tractors and the production of chemical supplements.  Which one outweighs the other- would you rather have an agriculture industry that is pumped full of chemicals, supports the use of fossil fuels, displaces local farmers, gives most of its products to biofuels and animals, and is monopolized by patronizing patent-fiends, OR, have an agriculture industry that uses organic fertilizers, uses significantly less fuel, supports local economies, uses natural bio-diverse seed, and supports the sustenance of human life?  I, along with Vandana Shiva, Wendell Berry, among others (all conscious beings) would choose #2.  The transition from one seemingly efficient system to the other will be one of the most difficult fights of recent history.

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This blog: http://blog.sustainthenine.org/ gives me so much hope, and will be an extremely unique and valuable resource in my ongoing research.  They are working hard to give food security to the LNW residents who live in a unsecure food desert.

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