This is a very interesting and exciting time in our country in regards to food production! There have been a number of small victories here lately for those of us working to restore food integrity back into our national system, bringing several issues to light for the general population to see. Among those is the FDA giving permission to schools to NOT use hamburger containing pink slime in school lunches. (If you would like to know more about pink slime, just Google it, it’s as disgusting as it sounds and it’s found in about 75% of all ground beef that is currently sold… Yum!)
Due to customer outrage over BPA, Campbell’s has now removed the offensive chemical from its canning process! (If you want to learn more about this issue, here is a link to a Forbes article that covers it.) Yes, I could go on about how despicable it is that a company knowingly uses a chemical which has been proven to cause all sorts of problems until consumers threaten to stop buying their product and do a little damage to the bottom line, BUT, I won’t. I’ll just celebrate this little victory and hope that the momentum continues to build, grow, and blossom!
Also in the news recently, the banishment of agri-giant, Monsanto, from several countries, though sadly, NOT the USA. Hungary, France, and Peru have all banned the use of Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds, mainly because the long term effects are still unknown, but also because the known short term problems are bad enough. (If you are unfamiliar with Monsanto, check out one of my earlier blogs… or just Google it… there is a wealth of information out there and I really can’t begin to explain how scary they are in the context of this current post.)
There have been some notable losses, including Governor Branstad of Iowa signing into law the nation’s first ag-gag bill. This bill was passed to protect agricultural businesses from being damaged by those who might gain employment dishonestly with the express purpose of sabotaging operations. However, the bill uses broad strokes and ends up protecting these agricultural businesses from whistleblowers and investigators who would seek to bring into the light of public scrutiny certain practices and procedures that the big ag biz would rather keep safely tucked away in the dark. This bill is nothing more than blatant pandering to big ag and their big money, criminalizing those who might “damage” their bottom line by exposing (gasp) the truth! I hope the law is challenged (as I’m sure that it will be) and found to be unconstitutional (as it most certainly is).
We are currently at a crossroads or a pivot point of sorts. Yes, there are many issues that are finally coming to light and much needed changes that are being made in our food system (for the better). But there is still so much more to do. This is the time to change. This is the time for reform. This is the time to commit to restoring integrity to our food. It will take each of us making changes in our attitudes and behaviors and it will take all of us working together to bring about the necessary changes in modern agricultural practices.
Call me crazy (you won’t be the first, nor will you be the last), but I believe that we can actually leave a better world for future generations. However, I also believe that we are running out of time to be able to do that. There will come a point when we will have polluted, overmedicated, destroyed, used, abused, chemicalized (so, maybe I made that word up, but you know what I mean!) and leached this planet beyond the point of recovery. But I’m optimistic enough to believe that we aren’t there yet! And the best part is that each of us can make decisions every day that will help us turn that corner and (because I love to mix my metaphors) tip that scale in our favor, in favor of this planet over which we have been given stewardship, and in favor of the animals that are destined to share our fate (or we, theirs). I challenge you to be an informed consumer, an informed voter, and an active participant in your own food system!