you(r values) are what you eat

I consider myself pretty well informed about food issues.  My upbringing was decidedly unconventional concerning food, though I didn’t really know it until I went to college.  My parents were rather prolific gardeners, growing most of our produce organically, though at the time I never really knew what “organic” meant.  We had our own chickens from whom we gathered our eggs.  We even briefly raised our own pig.  The first taste I ever got of a frozen vegetable was in a cafeteria, and no lie, I called my mom to ask her why the green beans there didn’t taste right.  She laughed at me, perhaps realizing she’d ruined me for life. As an adult, I try to frequent the farmer’s market, or at least buy organic produce at my grocery store.  I thought I was informed, making wise choices, doing what was right for my body and the planet.

I even read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  So I really thought I knew.

Food IncBut there is something different about SEEING it.  We saw “Food, Inc.” this weekend and afterward, as I headed off on my bike, a backpack full of reusable bags, to the grocery store, my husband asked, “What are you going to buy?”  “Oh, just some veggies and some yogurt.”  “Good, because I’m not sure I can eat any meat today.”  We’ve decided it’s time to get serious about our food choices after watching this film.  It really affected us.  And I hope you will see it too.

There are just too many reasons now for me not to do the right thing in my food choices.  Because I care about the way farmers are treated by big companies like Tyson and Purdue and Monsanto.  Because I care about the way workers are treated by big companies like Smithfield and Pilgrim’s Pride.  Because I care about the way animals are treated, all along the food chain.   Because I care about the way the land and the water are treated all along the food chain.  Because I care about the impact on world hunger.  Because I care about the way consumers are treated by large companies and the regulators who fail to protect them.  Because I care about the health of my body and my community.

Now, I have friends who are already saying things to me about how they don’t want to watch this film because they don’t want to have to change the way they eat.  This shows that they already know there is something wrong with our food system.  They just don’t want to put in a little more effort, maybe cut back on spending in other areas in order to be able to afford more ethical food, maybe spend less time on the couch and more time in the kitchen.  But we can’t sit here with our fingers in our ears singing “La La La La La, I can’t hear you” for too much longer.  Because we KNOW something has to change. Continue reading

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