Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where does food come from??


Another book on the free shelf at the library the other day was called How We Get Things, a 1976 edition of the Childcraft How and Why Library. I actually had a whole set of these books once before but they only sat in a box for a couple years so I decided to pass them on. Still though I was curious enough to pick this one up again.

I do realize that it is somewhat outdated edition, several decades old, but still, I'm cutting them no slack.

(And now I am coming back towards the beginning, having already finished writing this post, to warn you that I totally go off on a tangent here. I don't even make my real point. There wasn't an end to the story. Thanks if you at all attempt to follow along!)

So, on the page entitled Fields of Food, the first paragraph says...

"Some foods are grown in fields. Usually, they cannot be eaten right away. First, they must be harvested or gathered. Then, the crops are sent to factories to be made into food."

Oh my gosh. I'm nearly speechless. I don't understand. I'm totally distressed.

And the year of print actually doesn't even matter because it has only become more and more true.

Thinking about food can get me feeling very political. But feeling political can be such a frustrating experience sometimes.

We obviously had very strong reasons for living a vegan lifestyle for more than a decade and a half. Treatment of animals being the original factor, factory farming being a gigantic part of it, and manipulation of food, farms, and families being likely the most horrifying part of it.

We of course still greatly oppose all of those things! And so much more really. Because we made the decision to no longer be vegan we were faced with many more serious decisions regarding where our food would be coming from. We would never consume conventional meats or dairy products. Actually we do not even ever purchase conventional (meaning not organic) vegetables or fruits. (Oh please please know this is not meant to criticize anyone who does!) And I know that it can be hard to afford to buy only organic, but trust me, we do it on a very, very small grocery budget.

To me personally a label of organic doesn't even necessarily means much when it comes to products such as eggs, dairy, or meat. There are still plenty of usda organic farms out there that we would never feel comfortable supporting. Most important to us is that many of these farms are meeting only the minimum standards for what can be considered humane living conditions.

So we make other choices. And lucky for us we live in an area with an abundance of local farms to support. (Though remember, we are super particular, so really there aren't too many we feel completely comfortable with, but at least there are a few, and we are grateful for that...)

These are animals. They have instincts and basic natural needs. We need to honor that. They give us so much. We need to care for them with respect. And how about some common sense too?

I don't even know why I am talking about animals and factory farming when this page in the book really had me more upset about the craziness of the processed food industry. I guess I better not let myself get into that one now...

Why can't food just be a common sense issue? How could such a simple thing have gotten so incredibly messed up?

I realize this is lots of rambling that might not even make much sense! I wasn't even intending to write much (for this very reason really, I knew I would I would just go on and on)... I just wanted to show you that almost humorous but really very sad page in the book...

Clearly I wasn't really speechless.

Sorry not such a cheery post.

Really though, sometimes I think the most important thing in the world is to Grow Your Own Food!

Have you noticed I almost started rambling again?

Really I just wanted to let you know that despite the non-cheeriness of this post there is no need to worry.. We are still our usual happy selves! I promise to post something pretty next time...



gardenmama said...

oh my renee, this topic gets me going too! i hear what you are saying friend, yes this page in the book is strange but even stranger that it is true... on a lighter note, wishing you a beautiful week! thank you for sharing your thoughts and for being responsible and mindful with the food you consume. xoxo

twigandtoadstool said...

I was just on Facebook reading something about the horrors of all just makes my stomach turn. We're lucky here too...we raise our own meat and eggs, grow and preserve alot of our own produce. I always wonder, why the hell don't people just "get it" should be so basic...and growing organically and sustainably just makes so much can be so frustrating. That being said, my hope is that people like us can be the change we want to see. Continuing to support our local farmers, and valuing where our food comes from...our farmers markets have become beehives of activity, and that gives me hope too!
xo maureen

Plain and Joyful Living said...

This issue makes me upset too - but in our own way we live what we believe and share with others the importance of local and organic food and pray that others will learn as well. We also live on very little money but spend on organic and healthy foods even though we probably can't "afford" it by the worlds standards.
Thanks for sharing,
Warm wishes,

Melanie~Our Ash Grove said...

Renee, I am on the same page as you! Of course you must be very particular- I wish everyone was able to be! You are so right- we need to honor animals- we need to honor the earth, and all living things living on it!
We also have a small food budget- we manage to buy and eat organically- supplementing with our own homegrown vegetables and meat.

Anonymous said...

Oh Renee,
You are SO speaking my language and unfortunately the more you dig the worse it gets. Where we live we are not allowed to have farm animals and now the farmers we do support are being told what they can and can't sell.

This is something I have been fighting for a long time (like you) and sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and alone in this fight.

Thank you for rambling on today :)


kyndale_pease said...

I would be upset too. I happen to have found a free set of childcraft books (circa 1980) and they have the "how do we get things" book. Under food in the index...this will kill you....they have listings for animal crackers, bread, cereal grains, cornflakes, doughnuts, gelatin, honey, hot dogs, maple syrup, potato chips. I do have that same exact page in our edition. Something on page 375 got me. There's a picture of a corn field with the caption "sprayed-on waste water helps plants grow." Obviously I'll have to monitor my kids when they read these books!

earthboysblog said...

Hello my friend, well you know exactly how I feel, and you can imagine how terribly upset I was when i saw all those wonderful organic fruit farms next to those sprayed or even alongside polluted freeways...not to mention all those animals. Our new little calf is so happy alongside his mama. There was a person interested in our farm, they do dairy in the USA, I saw their site how they took their calves away and kept them in little boxes all alone -Well I didn't reply to them. If you had to know what Fabien is going through finding out all these horrific things in the water, environment you would wonder how we could all be alive. Oh and now they are about to approve Monsanto's Alfalfa.