Big Agribusiness loves to throw around dire predictions of impending world hunger.
According to their press releases, if not for their genetically modified organisms, petrochemical fertilizers, and their long list of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, society would be doomed.
Then there are the hormones and constant use of antibiotics which keep our cattle healthy and fast-growing so we can enjoy beef at the low cost that we Americans demand.
The popular press too often laps up the industry perpetuated ideas such as the economic superiority of factory farming, that genetically modified foods are the best way to deal with drought, pests, and weeds, or that factory farms produce safer, and more cost-effective foods.
If you listen to the line presented by the GMO and agri-chemical companies, you would get the idea that the development of the chemical-intensive monocultures was the most important invention in human history.
While those of us who are passionate about the local and sustainable food movement can see the big picture and recognize the true cost of industrial farming, much of the general public does not question their practices. They have been brought up to trust the food industry and have not stopped to question their methods or the consequences of agribusiness.
Sustainable Foods: Real Food Media Project
The Real Food Media Project operates a wonderfully conceived and informative website that, one by one, busts many of the myths surrounding the foods we eat.
Take a moment to watch one of their videos. This one stars Anna Lappé, author of Diet for a Hot Planet, as she challenges the notion that chemical-laden factory farming is the only way to combat world hunger:
Sustainable Foods: What you can do:
- Recognize the value of voting with your dollar.
- Eat local.
- Embrace your local farmer. Frequent farmer’s markets.
- Eat Organic
The popular press has recently given a lot of publicity to studies questioning the nutritional health benefits of eating organic. That is only one of the many but a part of the reasons to seek organic foods…
- Consider the environmental costs of chemical-laden monoculture farming and the value of diversified farming.
Where do all the fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides go when it rains? What about the farm workers who spray these chemicals with the skull and crossbones on the container? Are the extreme use of antibiotics creating “super bugs?”
- Cut the Chemicals
Sustainable farming allows us to diminish, if not completely eliminate, the chemicals we are exposed to through our foods while keeping our ecosystems healthy. Buying organics will also allow us to decrease the quantity of chemicals we are exposed to through our food.
- Plant Some Food
It doesn’t get more local than your own yard. Take out some turf grass and plant something edible.
Food you grow will be the ultimate in freshness, taste better, may be better for you, and will diminish your global environmental impact. Gardening in itself provides health benefits. It gets you and your family outside, is fun, relieves stress and provides physical activity. In addition, you get the opportunity to teach your children about where food comes from.
About the Author:
David Arthur is a LEED-AP, Green Building Consultant, and rabid fan of all things sustainable. He is the staff techy and contributor at GoingGreen-GettingHealthy.com.