The Increased Impact of the Food We Eat
The American people are becoming increasingly aware of what goes into the food we eat. Not just pesticides and other chemicals but also the truth about why our food is so cheap and the repercussions of the current system, both environmental and social. Industrial agriculture has delivered cheap groceries and a greater variety in what we choose to eat; but it has also brought us contaminated meat, carcinogenic hormone-filled milk, and environmental disaster. The cheap prices we see at the market are a farce. The costs that we are averting is being dumped on something or someone else. The article in Time Magazine by Bryan Walsh titled “Getting Real about the High Price of Cheap Food” displays what is wrong with the food we eat and shows how some companies are choosing to do it the right way.
“Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs and bland taste.” Our system is based on cheap grains, like corn and wheat. These crops are staples for our beef, pork and poultry production but these crops are also heavily fertilized which has lead to nutrient loading in our rivers, lakes and oceans. The environmental devastation created by these methods has been piling up around the world and we are seeing the effects everyday.
Less than 1% of the crops in the US are grown organically. Although many large corporations are “going green,” much more has to be done and accountability must be taken for following the regulations. Our government needs to rethink the subsidies for the large, unsustainable agriculture industries and invest our money in sustainable, small-scale, organic farms. Some companies that are doing their part to change our ways are Chipotle and a company called Bon Appetit Management Company. Chipotle has had the philosophy called “food with integrity,” they have “put a lot of energy into finding farmers who are committed to raising better food.” This is because of the reduced environmental cost but mostly because sustainable food usually tastes better. Bon Appetit has committed to purchasing as much of its food as possible from within 150 miles of its kitchens. Efforts like these by companies who can change consumer behavior are pivotal in the agricultural revolution of our lifetime. So… do your part by looking into where the majority of your food comes from buy local organic food as much as possible. Be a mindful consumer; know what costs you are averting when you choose to buy the conventional gallon of milk over the organic alternative. Realize that you can make a difference in this world just by what you choose to consume.