Sunday, July 30, 2006
Obsession With Corn Continued
So as I've mentioned, I've been reading my summer environmental book The Omnivore's Dilemma. It's making me a bit crazy, but that's why I limit myself to one doozy per summer. This book has made me understand how our food supply works and the history behind it. He even describes the history behind Cascadian Farms and Earthbound Farms, those companies that "tipped" organic into mainstream. Natch, he describes Big Organic of today versus Organic as it began.
Anyway, I read a quote from a farmer, owner of Polyface Farms that made so much sense to me. This quote answers the question as to why organic food is so "expensive". Here's what Joel Salatin, this farmer, has to say (note he's not quoted with quotes in the book, so the quotes refer to the book itself):
"all of the costs (of organic, local) are figured into the price. Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water - of all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food SEEM cheap. " And later, he says "take away the regulations, the subsidies, and factor in the health care and environmental cleanup costs of cheap food - we could compete on price with anyone."
And after that, Salatin explains "we Americans spend only a fraction of our disposable income feeding ourselves - about a tenth, down from a fifth in the 1950s. " "Centralized production, centralized processing, and long-distance transportation of food" is the reasons we are having an epidemic of food-borne illness.
And as we know from this book and others, such as Fast Food Nation, all of our beef and chicken are fed processed feces, feathers, ash, and the gutted parts of these animals. Because of recent regulations, cows can't be fed themselves, so they get dead chickens and those organs and parts. And visa versa for the chickens. Including old dairy cows. I know, we all think dairy cows don't get eaten, but think of what we are eating - all of their hormones for their milk as well. Passing giving processed cow parts to chickens and visa versa has spread disease across species as well as the myriad of problems these things cause. Lunch anyone??
Anyway, back to my book. It all makes sense to me. After I read these little "nuggets", pun intended, I went outside and made sure my vegetable garden had plenty of water! Hmm...maybe we'll build that chicken coop after all.