Food Rant Friday

Growing Food in Protest


My initial intention was that Food Rand Friday would be a one time thing, apparently I have just too much to say about it.

I’ve been seeing a lot of info this week about the nationwide march against Monsanto and wonder to myself what this is really going to accomplish.  A group of basically like-minded people will get together and rant about what Monsanto is doing to our collective good health.  Marching against anything these days doesn’t seem to have the impact it once had.  Our legislators are not going to change their ways of voting on the farm bill or anything else because thousands of citizens got together to voice their disapproval of big ag’s farming practices.  Most will vote with whoever is funding their bids for reelection, plain and simple.  The sooner the population realizes this the sooner we can deal with it in a more constructive way.

Michael Pollan is my hero if for no other reason than to tell people to read labels and if there is more than five ingredients on it or there are ingredients that you don’t understand don’t eat it.  That’s pretty simple.  It doesn’t take much to read the label on that bag of Cheetos to know that they probably aren’t that good for you and that you are supporting big ag by buying and consuming them.  There are so many other reasons not to eat processed food but honestly I’ve said enough about that.

Today I have two articles to share the first is about the possible effects of Roundup on our guts and potentially our very lives (like we didn’t really already know that).  Gut Punch: Monsanto Could Be Destroying Your Microbiome was an article I read this morning that I thought was interesting but just one more reason not to eat food produced by large agriculture.  This article led me to Michael Pollan’s piece in the NYT – Some of My Best Friends are Germs.  This is a lengthy piece which is typical for Pollan only because when he makes a case for something he gives you as much information as he can.  Read it, it’s fascinating and more than a little scary.

Our food, in my humble opinion, has become one of the biggest political issues of our time.  I feel like there are so few people who are even aware of it that the idea of changing what is happening to the everyday American is all but impossible.  We are bombarded everyday with news of terrorism and tragedy that the danger of the food you buy in your grocery store takes a very back seat to the tragedy du jour.  Let’s put armed guards in every elementary school in the country to keep our children safe, let’s make sure there’s a safe room in each school as well to ensure in case of a tornado they’ll have somewhere safe to go.  Okay, I get it, but how about increasing the food budgets and finding access to organic fresh foods in every cafeteria across the country.  How about putting home economics back into the school curriculum to give our children the knowledge they need to cook a meal from scratch or help them to read the ingredient labels on their food.  How about teaching them where their food comes from?

Honestly, kids need to know more about farm animals than the cow says moo and the chicken says cluck.  They need to know the cow means milk and burgers and the chicken is eggs and McNuggets (maybe).  I worked at Old Sturbridge Village as an interpreter for a few years, fortunately for the kids I was in textiles.  Early on though I worked as a gardener. One year we were harvesting carrots and I had a little girl help pull some up – she was amazed, she didn’t know they came out of the ground!  I also had an experience of stopping kids from harassing one of the roosters in the barnyard.  He thought it was just a stupid bird, I told him that if he continued to corner and harass that bird it would attack him and then we’d have to kill him and eat him.  The kid looked at me like I was nuts and I told him that that was where his chicken nuggets came from – then he really thought I was crazy.  These kids were typically in the fourth grade.  I’m beginning to think that we’ve crossed the Rubicon with food education because the vast majority of parents don’t know where their food comes from either.  Talk about the dumbing down of America.

I will continue to use the poster at the beginning of every food rant because I am convinced the only way we are going to get ourselves out of our collective health problems is to grow our own food or source it, know where it comes from and what is in it.  If it makes you feel better go march against Monsanto on Saturday, while you’re there talk about what you are growing this year or what farmer’s market is near the person you’re talking to.   I’m hoping that in addition to being a protest it can be an education and an avenue for people to know where they can get good, healthy food for themselves and their families.





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