Sunday, February 9, 2014

The 500 Year Farm Manifesto Part 3

Now it's time to address the second issue I brought up in the first post. A lack of access to healthy foods.
Now I wouldn't say that I live in a food desert, in fact, in many respects I'm quite lucky. We have access to the cheap stuff, the better stuff and the good stuff, also we do have a local farmers market. What I've found so unsatisfying with the food supply is that I don't know how the food is produced. Sure, you can put an "Organic" sticker on something and I at least know something about the food. I still have questions, I still have concerns and while this sticker might be enough for some people, for me it more than falls short. I don't agree that organic is the bar our food should work towards, at best for me it's more of a "better than nothing" proposition. There is a miss-association of the word sustainable and organic. There is nothing about organic food that makes it sustainable in any way. It is better than corporate chemical agriculture, but let's be honest that isn't saying much. Our local farmers market doesn't have anything that bares the "Organic" monicker and when asked they simply say no and aren't real interested in talking about their farming practices.
Our first world society has lost touch with producers of food. There isn't an actual free market in food and that is because we lack choice. The corporate take over of the food supply chain has been so effective and complete that it effectively created a single way of doing things and left consumers with no other options. There isn't pressure with regards to food production to allow consumers to make reasonable decisions on what they eat. I have one non organic farmers market with one producer selling vegetables. My only other options are the same sources that are everywhere. Yes there are a few CSA programs that can deliver near me, but you have to pick up on their schedule, the prices are fixed no matter what is in season, you don't get any choice, they don't provide food year round and are easily 4 times more expensive than even the most expensive organic brands. Even if those where not these issues, a CSA doesn't mean that I can feel any better about how the food was grown because I don't have enough competing choices to pick the one that best align with my values when it comes to food. Not to mention, so far, I'm only talking about vegetables. I think I'll save protein production for the post about ethically produced food.
The only solution to this for me is, instead of complaining about the lack of choice, create it. I'd rather be a producer than a whiner. I'm really trying to live my ethics and be the change I want to see in the world and while I'm not there yet, I'm working every day towards making it a reality.
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