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Food for thought…

January 28, 2010

We have been receiving a cinematic education lately on what is really afoot in the food industry. “Food Inc.” really set off a quest for all of us as a family to explore further into what is going on with our national food system. Bob certainly does his part in taking great care to cultivate and grow organic produce. But while I have a very fortunate position of eating locally and knowing my farmer, I am very aware that this is a vanishing reality in our society.

Our most recent viewing was of the movie “Ingredients”. This film really focused on produce and the changing practices of how it is grown, sourced, and used at a mass scale today in the United States. Our disappearing farm lands have made the local farmer almost extinct. In fact, “Farmer” is no longer an occupation choice in the U.S. Census anymore. We have become a nation that has been brought up and educated by the fast food industry that relies on sourcing based on price and not flavor, and year-around availability over freshness. Our food is brought in from around the world, sometimes coming from the poorest countries that use substandard practices in farming and spraying foods. As a result, the United States pays less for food and more for medication than any other country in the world. One in three children born after the year 2000 while develop Type Two Diabetes. These are frightening trends that are so easily preventable.

There has been a growing collaboration between top chefs, educators and small farmers across the country to combat these realities. Celebrated chefs like Alice Waters have sought out organic farms to find the freshest produce. In the early years of her culinary training, she saw what was readily available to chefs in France, and that it simply did not exist in the United States. Both the mentality and accessibility of using locally grown foods was disappearing. It was through her hard work, and chefs like her, that small farms were brought to life again. They are working in tandem to refocus our priorities on the how we are feeding our families. It is this joint effort that has both proven that the relationship between organic farming and eating locally is not only sustainable, but also a healthier choice, not just for the individual but for our society as a whole.

As the film notes, we have a choice to make, pay the farmer or pay the doctor.

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