I have been thinking a lot lately about food. Well, lets be honest, its not just lately that I have been thinking about food. Me and food - we like each other. I love preparing food. I love cooking for people. I love how so much of life revolves around food. Celebrations. Festivals. Social engagements. Rituals. If you have never made this connection, just decide to fast for a week and you will quickly see how often our thoughts revolve around food and how often things we do with our family and friends revolve around eating.
So, yes, me and food - we are kind of like BFF's.
Here is my question:
I really want to know. Think of how you would answer that. Because when someone asked me, I answered. And, then, I started thinking, and for the most part, I actually really don't.
My first response was that it is from the store. I walk in, and there are the aisles, and I am pretty aware of checking labels. I pursue organic products.
But, before landing there, on those shelves - where is my food from? The food that I put into my body daily. Into my children's bodies. Who grows it? Where do they buy their seeds? Have their products been genetically modified (there is no label for this)?
I went to my pantry and my fridge and began scanning - and, I kind of had a moment of panic when I realized that I don't really know where any of my food comes from, how it is grown, how it travels from there to the store.
What I am realizing, and kind of mourning (yes, I know that sounds VERY DRAMATIC), is that we have really lost the connection with our food. I almost want to roll my eyes at myself, but hang in there with me on this one. Think back 150 years ago - most families grew their own food. They KNEW where their food came from. They trusted that it was not compromised and that it was healthy. Industrialization has changed how food is grown, and how it gets from farm to our plates. And, like everything else in the industrial world, all of the change has not been good.
Think about this, mamas, if a stranger walked up to you on the street and wanted to hand you a steak, or a bushel of veggies, or even a box of cereal - would you take it? Would you feed it to your children? Would you trust that this random individual was handing you pure food?
I don't think I would. Because what I know is that what we put into our mouths can keep us alive (we need food and water to live, afterall), or it can lead to death (the poison apple serves as an iconic reminder).
So, why do we simply trust that all the food lining our shelves in the store is safe?
I was encouraged recently to watch the movie Food, Inc.
All I can say is - WATCH IT.
Please watch it.
I was enthralled by the information shared. I learned so much. And, I was left feeling puzzled, perplexed and more than a little frustrated.
Here are some of the things I learned ...
Did you know that in the one burger you eat, there may be pieces of 5,000 cows?
Did you know that the majority of corn grown in Iowa actually cannot be used for human consumption?
Did you know that corn is in almost every product on the mainstream grocery store's products?
Did you know that about 5 companies produce all the meat in our nation?
Did you know that the American farmer is losing his ability to farm?
Did you know that it is virtually illegal for us to criticize certain companies? That freedom of speech does not apply to the food industry?
Did you know that a meat processing plant could have 6 people die from e coli poisoning and not be shut down?
Did you know that seeds are being modified to contain pesticides INSIDE the plant?
There is far more to list, but I want you to see it for yourself. This film is so well done - I believe that regardless of your political affiliation you will be glad that you watched.
I got my copy through Netflix. I started a free trial, and am now hooked. I love that for about $8 a month I can rent as many movies as I want. Even better, there are oodles of movies available on Netflix that you can watch from your computer instantly. Food, Inc. is one of the movies that is available to watch instantly. So... go ... watch ... and come back and let us know what you thought.
Here is my resolve - to find farmers who still farm that I can support, to purchase free range products, to buy as few GMO products as possible, and to vote in a manner that honors the farming industry and our earth. I WANT TO KNOW WHERE MY FOOD COMES FROM.
Other resources for you to pursue:
Fed Up (another movie you can find on Netflix)
King Corn (another movie you can find on Netflix)
Fast Food Nation (another movie you can find on Netflix)