Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Educating myself about food....

This week, I was invited (and by invited, I mean I requested an invite!) to join the West Michigan Co-Op.

This is an online farmer's market, started by a group called Farms Without Harm.

Lately, I have been extremely interested in where my food comes from. With all of the ailments, cancer, and other horrible things that potentially stem from the food we eat, I thought it was important to start researching this topic. A friend of mine had suggested I join the co-op and I was happy to oblige. Since doing so, my interest has only peaked and boy, oh boy, the information out there is quite distressful.

Barbara Kingsolver recently wrote a book. It's a great book that I am in the process of reading.
It's called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and it is all about her family's quest to eat from the land that they live on, purchase it locally, or choose not to eat at all. For one year. What an interesting experiment and what a lesson to teach yourself and your children. So far the book is very good and is helping me digest all of the information that I am capturing online and in other reference materials.

The gist of my examination so far is that our food system is terribly troubled. Not only is it the way that these animals are treated, but it is also the quality of the meat that is being sold in our stores. I have read up on CAFO's (confined animal feeding operations); their pollution practices, their treatment of animals, their use of hormones and the deregulation of these aforementioned farms. Did you know that human resistance to antibiotics can be directly associated to CAFO's? 70% of antibiotics go to animals, end up in the manure, which then ends up in our water supply. (Waterkeeper Alliance) It's quite sad and sickening to know that there are 250 of them right here in our backyard.

There is also the issue of sustaining local farming communities by purchasing locally grown and raised food. Every new CAFO, sends 10 family farmers out of business. What a statistic. So, we could say in terms of Michigan 2,500 farmers have been put out of business because of these operations. What a sad thing to think about. Especially in a place where farming is a way of life. The food grown on this land, the land that we drink the water from, the land that we live on, is the best food to buy. It sustains the local economy, it prevents CAFO's from maintaining their horrific practices, and it, in my case, gives a whole lot of peace of mind.

This experiment that Barbara Kingsolver has taken on, is one that I am hoping to take on as well. I don't know if we can do it to the point that she is, but we are certainly going to try. It all starts with the West Michigan Co-Op and educating myself about food. I think all too often it's easy to just eat and not think at all about it. Part of my weight loss journey, has been to grapple with thinking before I eat. And that now means that I think about exactly what it is I am eating and not just why I am eating. My eyes have been opened and my viewpoint is forever changed.

Do you know where your food comes from??


Amy Carroll said...

Emily, this is very interesting that you posted on this today. I have been thinking about this topic A LOT in the past few months, about where our food comes from, what I'm putting into my body, etc. Thank you for sharing this information.

Erin said...

Awesome post, Emily. We try to buy locally as much as we can, and you know we recently went vegetarian because we don't agree with the treatment of (most) animals raised for food. I wonder if I'd feel differently if I knew that the animal had a good life before we ate it? I was shopping at Horrocks (can I say names on here?) the other day, and the delicious Michigan peaches were $.70/pound, and the California peaches were $1.70! Is it worth it to use so many resources to get a peach?!

Jared's Girl