Friday, January 8, 2010

New Years Resolution - Go Local and Organic!

I usually don't participate in New Year's resolutions because I know I most likely won't keep up with it. But after watching the film, Food Inc., I decided to make an exception.

I generally think of myself as someone who has a relatively good diet. I try to stay away from red meat and pork, and increase my consumption of fruits and vegetables. I try my very best to limit my fast food intake. From there, I thought I was doing a pretty good job. Then, I watched Robert Kinner's film and totally had a change of heart.

If you haven't seen this documentary yet, it is a must see!!! Thanks to campus organizer, T. Stewart, I am now a believer.

Filmmaker, Kinner, does a phenomenal job of revealing the secrets behind our national food industry. In this film, you will learn about the monopoly only a few corporations have over the so-called variety of food products we look for at our local grocery stores. What's really sad is the debilitating impacts they have on local farmers and immigrant workers who are, in most cases, recruited from Latin American countries illegally to work in very inhumane conditions. In addition, bacteria that was once considered foreign and rare, has infiltrated our food supply. Even the foods that we generally think about as the healthiest are often contaminated (remember the E. coli found in spinach leaves and salmonella in peanut butter?).

You would think the federal government would not allow this to happen. Think again! In fact, government agencies such as the USFDA employed top representatives who are or once were executives at these companies, leaving very little room for objective governance when it comes to our most sacred resource.

Today, Huffington Post had a very interesting article about most food purchased in the US are packaged and come from factory farms, the breeding grounds for deadly pathogens that are making their way to our dinner tables.

Well, with all of this in mind, I thought to myself, what could I do to reduce my health becoming impaired by what I eat and not participating in how these companies treat their workers and contracted farmers. Luckily, at the end of the film, there's a listing of recommendations of how every day citizens can make a difference:

  • Buy locally grown foods
  • Support farmers markets and ask them to accept food assistance programs such as EBT or food stamps
  • Go organic (though costly, the higher the demand, the likelihood of prices to drop - your buying power is your vote!)
  • Start a community garden
These simple actions also got me to think about how our current administration is approaching health care reform. I'm all for uninsured Americans to be covered under this possible new law (hell, I'm looking forward to the day when we'll have universal coverage. I'm still crossing my fingers). But I would really like to see our country take a huge leap forward and not only reform health care insurance, but also our very health and well-being, which is completely tied to what we eat and often our lifestyles. Though I don't expect nor want our government to legislate our lifestyles, more can certainly be done to give us healthier choices and incentives in both providing and making those choices.

In order to achieve true health care reform, we can not leave out the need to do a serious overhaul of our food industry. Because what's the point of promoting preventive care (though we should definitely continue to do so) if the veggies or eggs most Americans buy are covered with deadly bacteria?

Well, until we get it all figured out, I've made a commitment. I will try my very best to go local and organic! Wish me luck!

1 comment:

AbsentOfGrace said...

Good movie and a good resolution!