Food. Where to start? The movie Food, Inc. is a good place. Jeff and I are involved in a discussion group about the politics and issues behind our food system. In a nutshell, the regular food that is sold at the grocery store (the meat, produce, dairy aisle and the packaged foods) are not only bad for our bodies (pesticides and fertilizers get into our bodies), they are bad for the planet and not so great for the food itself - the repeated use of fertilizers and overfarming strips the soil of nutrients, and food that is grown now has far fewer nutrients than food grown before World War 2. The solution? Organic food, preferably food grown on small organic farms, is better for the Earth, the soil, and our bodies. For starters, the nutrient level is significantly higher. And there are so many more reasons to make the choice.
The big questions, now that we're learning all of this, are, "Why is it so hard to eat local, organic food? Why isn't it sold in the grocery store like conventional food? Why is it so much more expensive?" The answers are complex, but they boil down to the fact that our federal government pays enormous sums of money to farmers who grow food that is bad for us. A few mega-corporations grow all of the meat Americans eat, and what they produce and how they produce it is not what they like us to think.
Sometimes I get lost and frustrated when I think about all of this. Who cares that Jeff and I are making the decisions we make, and that we sit in the church basement every other week and discuss these issues with other people? What more can we do? What is already being done? Today I put together a nice, big list of organizations that are working for change. And I found some other goodies too, which I'll share with you.
Have you heard of this site - MarketMaker? You can find local (New York) food by searching their database. So, for instance, if you want some local beans, meat or wheat, you can search and find a supplier.
The Center for Food Safety site has loads of info about current topics and ways to take action, as well as recent legal victories.
Here are a few blogs that focus on local, organic eating:
Green Fork Blog - News and links to many organic food blogs
Times Union Eat Local
Jill U Adams – eating locally in Albany
Change.org: Sustainable Food
I hope you enjoy these sites! We are feeling that this journey into food awareness is bigger and more powerful than ourselves, and everytime we learn something new, other pieces of the puzzle fall into place. It's a wonderful family learning adventure.