Sustainable food is a hot item in the news lately – and with good reason. People are taking notice of the damage, pollution, disease that is caused directly from the production and by-products of industrial food.
Photo, courtesy of Francis Thicke for Secretary of Agriculture
The industrial food system, which comprises most of the food produced, bought, sold, and eaten in the United States, is responsible for many problems in the world today – ground water pollution, air pollution, disintegration of soil quality and damage to other natural resources, the existence of drug-resistant bacteria, an increase in employee health risks from exposure to chemicals and antibiotic over-use, a rise in health care and environmental costs and taxes, and untold health problems in human beings and animals alike.
Hopefully over the last few months, the numerous incidence of food recalls is getting the attention of many about this important topic. If you’ve been eating conventional and industrial food, now’s the time to make a switch and start supporting your local farmers who use sustainable methods, and who indeed produce real food!
Farmer’s markets are available in most communities, so there’s no excuse not to head down and check out what’s available in your local area. Become part of a vibrant, active food community that is fighting to maintain the right for people to be able to buy and eat good quality food produced in a safe and healthy environment. Our future depends on it!
Please take a few moments and read the following important critical items which are currently on the forefront of our sustainable food movement and need your attention:
Support Francis Thicke for Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa!
Francis Thicke understands sustainable agriculture and he is running for Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa state. He has been an organic dairy farmer who keeps his cattle on grass. For nearly 30 years and has served in various capacities of public service including the USDA State Technical Committee, the Scientific Congress on Organic Agriculture Research, the Organic Farming Research Foundation Board of Directors, the Governing Council of the Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture Research, and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service Board of Directors. He also holds a Ph.D. in soil sciences.
On the opposite side of the page is Incumbent Secretary Bill Northey, who has a long-standing background as a supporter and proponent of industrial agriculture. Northey has accepted campaign donations from Monsanto, Walmart, Syngenta, and DuPont. His educational background includes an MBA and has been a soybean and corn farmer for many years.
“For the food movement, [this race] is the most important this election,” Michael Pollan told The Atlantic. “If Thicke can pull this off — and he’s in range — it will send an important message nationally that even Iowa, the heart of corn and hog country, is eager for reform, and that the ‘Farm block’ is not as monolithic as people in Congress assume.” Read this in-depth article about this important race in The Atlantic. Then spread the word! Donate to Francis Thicke’s campaign…and if you live in Iowa, by all means, get to those polls on November 2nd!
This small, family owned business has been through a great deal of difficulty recently as they are battling a large recall by the FDA of raw cheese that never actually contained pathogenic bacteria and has not undergone proper testing. Read this article which provides the details of this event, and learn what you can do to help keep Morningland Dairy’s doors from closing. Also, read this important post from Hartke is Online! from Mark McAfee (of Organic Pastures in Fresno, CA) about the farm raids that have been occurring in our country – yes, FARM RAIDS by the FDA, and what you can do to stop them. Want to know more about raw milk? Read The Truth About Raw Milk, Part I and Part II.
Shame on you, Monsanto!
In case you hadn’t heard, Monsanto is now paying farmers to spray pesticide products of its competitors. Monsanto has done some pretty low things in its history, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. However, it doesn’t prevent this act from being any less heinous. It is imperative to put a stop to Monsanto’s actions – please join the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign. Also, please check out the movie, The World According to Monsanto on the Institute for Responsible Technology web site.
Nanotechnology in organic food?
Yep. I wish I didn’t even have to include this, but we simply must keep frankenfoods out of our food supply – and now there is a threat of nanotechnology being included in the growing of organic foods. Nano-particles are now being used in a variety of products. These have not been tested and are NOT labeled. It’s been used in foods and personal care products, and much more. Follow this Action Alert and learn all you can about this emerging presence in our food supply and send a message to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture. Then take action to become informed and boycott these products!
Do you know what the difference is between this amazing food and the toxic, meat-like substances you’ve been eating? I love articles like this – Organic Consumers Association has a fantastic description of how superior in many ways eating grass fed meat is to its industrial, and more ubiquitous counterpart – from supporting human and animal health to caring for the environment. Still not convinced? Take The Grassfed Meat Challenge!
Speaking of food recalls…
Here’s a great article in Mother Earth News about why industrial and factory chicken farms are such terrible places to get your eggs – and why you should not support them in any way, shape, or form. Confused about labels in the store or even when you are shopping for eggs and poultry at the farmer’s market? Here is an informative post about how to read poultry and egg labels and what terms like “organic”, “free-range”, and “cage-free” really mean.
You probably already know that it’s a very common ingredient in our food supply – so common, in fact, that it’s responsible for contributing to many health issues from obesity, auto-immune disorders, diabetes, and cancer. It’s not just because wheat is in everything we eat (although that is a big problem), it’s also that the gluten content of modern wheat is vastly different than that of its historical counterpart. Gluten is the substance which gives dough its elasticity in cooking and baking of which people are so fond – but it’s a difficult protein to digest. This causes many health problems which originate in the digestive tract. These substances are irritating to our gut and end up being absorbed through the intestinal wall as toxins that enter the bloodstream. Read about a more traditional, real, whole grain wheat that is being produced by sustainable food growers on Civil Eats.
Have you ditched the BPA yet?
Bisphenol A, a commonly used chemical in plastics over the last numerous decades, is being reported as having a detrimental effect on human and environmental health. It’s presence in bottles, packages, cans, and many other products has been blamed for being the cause of cancer, reproductive, nervous system, cardiovascular and many other problems. If not, read about how major producers are getting rid of BPA in their packaging.
Think growing your own food isn’t necessary?
Some people beg to differ. According to Wendell Berry, “Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed. Connection is health. And what our society does its best to disguise from us is how ordinary, how commonly attainable, health is. We lose our health – and create profitable diseases and dependencies – by failing to see the direct connections between living and eating, eating and working, working and loving. In gardening, for instance, one works with the body to feed the body. The work, if it is knowledgeable, makes for excellent food. And it makes one hungry.”
It may be the case that someday we won’t have a choice, and the condition of our food supply is becoming more dire each and every day. Read this interesting letter from a woman in Wisconsin explaining how the importance of producing our own food in a sustainable way is written about in the Bible.
Now, more than ever, thinking about sustainable food is one of the most important social, political, and health-related things you can do. If this is all new to you, I urge you to think about what our industrial food is doing to our entire way of life and how it will ultimately impact our future existence. It’s something that affects every man, woman, child, and many animals on this planet. Everyone has to eat food to live – so why is it that now it’s acceptable to eat substances that are toxic and harmful to our health? The answer is in the money and profit it brings to various individuals and companies who control our food supply. Those entities want to make sure we don’t have a choice, and that we don’t have access to clean, real food for our health.
Make sure your future is healthy and that you have a choice about what you eat – make your voice heard through the money you spend by putting it in the right places – in the hands of sustainable farmers who care enough to produce the food you want – not in the hands of big, bloated, corporate interests that don’t care about your health or the environment.