You may have noticed the new Food Renegade button at the bottom of the web page. I have joined up and will make Food Renegade Friday posts about being smarter in our food choices. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, and will join this group of renegades to try and convince more people about the crisis in our food system here in the good old U.S.A.
I believe we are at epidemic levels of food contamination in America. I believe farmer’s don’t grow the food we eat. I believe a real farmer owns less than 5,000 acres of land to work and produce foods. The rest? Well, they’re business men, using the land to make them money, and provide a faux substance we call food. I believe we need to find local growers to provide our food supply needs. I believe we should all have a garden. I believe a few chickens in a backyard, even in the city, are good for everyone.
What can you do Mr and Ms average American to alter your food supply? Well, I don’t have all the answers but I do have a few ideas that may improve our lives, our health, and the health of a few farm animals.
1. Accept and adjust your budgeting guidelines for food. Good food costs more. It is that plain and simple. A pound of anything, consumable as nutrition, that you purchase for a dollar a pound isn’t feasible, healthy or any better than the packaging it arrives in.
Think about it. When you put gas in your car, you pay $3 a gallon. How many gallons of fuel go into getting your food to the store? From the farm, to the distributor, to the actual store, and then home. How much fuel is consumed keeping it fresh? How was it packaged? Then multiply that by 12 or 24 because most items come case packed for stores. How many people handled that product before it got to you? The farm hand or hands, the harvesters, the shipper, the distribitor, the warehouse, the grocer, the clerk and then yourself.
All that fuel, all those people, contribute to the cost of our food. At 99 cents a pound, they’re losing money. And you’re eating junk. Non-nutrient junk, mostly based on corn. You don’t think so? Or you’re paying $3.49 a pound for meat? Consider the cost even still. Try to begin to understand why you need to pay more for your food.
2. Buy local grown. Buy organic local grown. I’m not a huge cheerleader of organic farming. I’m more a cheerleader of locally grown. I like to purchase the food I eat from someone I can talk with regarding how they farm their vegetables or proteins. Get to know them and really have a conversation with them about sustainability. Inner city people are the least connected to the food they eat for the very fact that locally grown food is rare. However, there are still locations, that carry organically raised produce. If you’re a city dweller with no vehicle, buy organic. Pay more. Live better.
3. Grow a garden. Buy heirloom seeds, plant something. Learn what it takes to make/help something grow. Black thumbs are only black thumbs because of lack of knowledge. If you are reading this, you have access to the best farm information around. Just look at this post I found at YouTube: How to grow an organic garden is just one of many videos. Heirloom seed are available on the net, my favorite place is Seed Savers.
Okay, growing a garden, adjusting your budget and buying organic may not be all the options available to you. But they are a beginning. You’ll feel better, eat better and help a local farmer stay in business. You too can begin to feel like a Food Renegade!
Next week: Food Renegade in the kitchen.