Looking at our food system and its demons takes commitment and courage.
There are over 1 billion people in the world who are hungry, yet so much food is wasted. As big corporations seek to control our seed supply, use of their products poisons our land and fresh water. As more of us become aware of the costs to the environment as a result of transporting food great distances, we realize the imperative to produce more of our food locally.
Indeed, these are huge challenges that need to be addressed. Critical thinking is required on a mass scale. Some problems will require us to become planetary citizens, as we embrace a true understanding and we need to speak up to protect our food supply from being taken over entirely by powerful corporations.
Here are some questions, individual and collective, about our food supply:
Will we find the collective will to stop the spread of genetically modified (GMO) food?
Can we learn from the Irish Potato Famine about the dangers of mono-cropping?
Will we have the collective will to bring back productive land damaged by erosion, as well as fertilizer run-off and other agrochemical pollution of water and soil?
Will we recognize that processed food uses valuable resources, energy and water to create a product that is always nutritionally inferior to eating the original, unprocessed, whole foods?
Will people who do not want to eat genetically engineered (GE) food remember that 70% of all processed food contains GE ingredients… especially products containing corn, soy and canola.
Can we outgrow our dependence on packaged foods which use tremendous amounts of energy and resources – steel, tin, aluminum, paper, plastic containers and wrapping; tetra paks and aerosol containers – and also creates mountains of garbage?
Will we learn to buy the amount of food we need rather than too much which gets forgotten in the fridge, goes bad and gets wasted?
Will we teach our children to eat their bread crusts, which is food, and potato skins which are high in Vitamin C?
Will young mothers learn when feeding their babies to start with small amounts of food, and give more only as needed, and only if more food is wanted?
Do we have the willingness to change our personal food addictions that contribute to less than optimal health, such as too much sugar, caffeine and fat (especially the bad fats)?
Now that the world at large is aware of fair trade and its ideals, can we support businesses that sell ethical coffee and chocolate?
Can we effectively challenge the myth (promoted by biotech companies) that GMO technology can feed the world, despite the mounting evidence showing reduced crop production per acre when using GE technology?
Economics of food
Can we change existing international economic policies that currently force farmers in developing countries to grow food as cash crops for wealthier countries, effectively preventing them from growing their own food necessary for their own survival?
Can we stop land grabs by big companies and even governments which take productive agricultural land away from farmers?
Industrial Meat Production
One of Gandhi’s famous quotes is: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Will those who eat industrial meat have the courage to take a close look at the inhumane practices of industrial meat production?
Will they acknowledge that the meat people are ingesting is laced with chemical poisons that very likely contribute to disease in the body?
Is it appropriate, at a time when the world’s fresh water supplies are dwindling, to continue the practice of industrial beef production which requires a minimum of 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef?
Will the water pollution from industrial meat production be recognized as one of the world’s most pressing problems that requires everyone’s attention?
Will we have the collective will to demand a moratorium on the bulldozing of tropical rainforests, the lungs of our planet, to grow soybeans to be used as cattle feed?
Some Positive Action Steps Towards Food Security
Revitalize farming communities and farming culture by:
Support for organic food.
Support for food grown locally without chemicals.
Create Community Gardens which bring communities together for a common goal and raises awareness of how much effort it takes to grow food.
Locate a space for growing food, even if it requires digging up lawns or flower beds.
Cultivate an appreciation for hardy, nutritious foods that grow well in your area, such as kale and collards; save seeds or let your plants reseed themselves.
Encourage local food banks to supply more nutritious, whole foods.
Support food activists who are resisting the takeover of our food systems by huge corporations that use GE technology.
Read books by Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva and Jeffrey Smith.
Encourage and support our upcoming generations to consider farming as honourable life work.
Tsiporah is a Gabriolan of 35 years and keen observer of our times and evolutionary potential as compassionate human beings.