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  • The American food system is nearing a state of crisis

    New Documentary “Ingredients” Looks at the Local Food Movement

    By Dr. Mercola

    The American food system is nearing a state of crisis. Ingredients is a documentary that explores the failings of the industrial food model, and how the local food movement is gaining momentum as a far better alternative. The film presents a refreshing look at food from the standpoint of sustainability, safety, flavor, nutrition, culture, and community.

    This documentary takes us across the US from the urban food deserts of Harlem to the biodynamic farms of the Hudson River and Willamette Valleys, and into the kitchens of several celebrated chefs—culinary game-changers who are teaching us all how to eat better.

    The current system, focused on cheap convenience foods, is costing Americans dearly. Most Westerners have lost their primal connection to food. Mealtimes used be savored and shared with others.

    Food preparation is now typically viewed as a chore that interferes with other “more important” activities. This detachment from food represents a cultural “disconnect” between humans and the earth, to the detriment of both. It’s time for radical changes to our modern food paradigm, which is the subject of this uplifting documentary.

    The Exorbitant Cost of ‘Cheap Food’

    Americans have become dependent on cheap convenience foods that can be “prepared” in five minutes or less—or without taking both hands off the steering wheel. More than 17,000 new processed food products are introduced each year. Bright, catchy packaging conceals foods laden with chemicals, unhealthful fats, and high fructose corn syrup, all of which contribute to today’s skyrocketing rates of obesity and illness, especially among our youth.

    Americans spend less on food than any other industrialized nation—an average of $151 per week, which amounts to less than seven percent of their income. How can such a low value be placed on something so important for your health and longevity?

    The US beef industry has managed to cut its prices in half since 1960. Unfortunately, cheap food contains cheap and toxic ingredients... and you get what you pay for. Food imports have increased four-fold over the past decade, overwhelming the FDA with inspections. Of the 200,000 shipments from China in 2006, less than two percent were sampled for quality and safety.

    “Cheap food” isn’t cheap when you consider all of the hidden costs associated with it. You make your first payment at the grocery store—just consider this your down payment, because you may be paying for it FIVE more times!

    Subsidies: At tax time, you pay for “cheap food” a second time with your contribution to agricultural subsidies. Processed food is mostly corn, canola, soy, rice, wheat, and sugar. These products (along with cotton) account for 98 percent of subsidies.
    Foodborne Illnesses: You may pay for cheap food a third time if you visit your doctor as a result of foodborne illnesses. CDC estimates that foodborne illnesses such as E. coli and salmonella cause 5,200 deaths each year in the US. Mass scale operations are riddled with quality control problems, leading to outbreaks of illness and food recalls.
    Chronic Disease: You pay for it a fourth time if you return to your doctor later for a chronic illness—heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cancer—consider these “foodborne” illnesses that just take a little longer to manifest. According to CDC, one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes.
    Environment: As soon as the factory farmer files for bankruptcy and leaves, you pay for your food a fifth time. This is what often happens when they are asked to clean up their land—a monumental expense that often results in bankruptcy, sticking the rest of us with the tab.
    Energy: The sixth time is when you pay your fuel bill. Processed foods and imported foods have an extremely large energy footprint. One-fifth of US fossil fuel consumption goes to the growing, packaging, and transporting of food.
    CAFOs: Breeding Grounds for Disease

    Central to the modern industrial food system are CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and monoculture. These massive food operations benefit no one and are devastating to land and animals.

    Today, livestock and poultry are typically reared in cages in tightly cramped quarters, with their feed consisting of grains, primarily genetically engineered corn and soy, instead of biologically appropriate grasses.

    These animals are literally imprisoned and often tortured by unhealthy, unsanitary, and unconscionably cruel conditions. To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding, and poor nutrition, animals are fed antibiotics and other veterinary drugs. CAFOs contribute more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than the entire global transportation industry.

    Meat products from CAFOs raise your risk for getting sick. Think about it—if you buy a pound of standard grocery store ground beef, you’re buying a composite of thousands of cows. So, if any of those cows had an E. coli infection, then it’s spread throughout an enormous batch of meat widely distributed across the country—or world. This is a problem of scale and density.

    By contrast, many smaller scale farms naturally keep parasite levels minimal by having lower livestock density and increased diversity. Animals are much less likely to get sick as they rotate through grazing pastures.

    Monoculture Destroys Soil and Invites GE Crops

    Monoculture (or monocropping) refers to the agricultural practice of growing a single crop year after year on large expanses of land, without crop rotation. Corn, soybeans, wheat, and to some degree rice, are the most common crops grown with monocropping techniques.

    Monocropping encourages the use of GE seeds, requires heavy pesticide and herbicide use, and is extremely destructive to the soil, as well as to biological diversity. GE crops and food products pose a threat to your health and ability to resist disease, soil strength, and the global food supply. The earth's soil is now depleting at more than 13 percent the rate it can be replaced due to our chemical-based agriculture system.

    Today, 92.5 percent of US acreage is devoted to food animals or their feed, with only 7.5 percent devoted to food that goes directly to feeding human beings. Massive monoculture operations have led to the extinction of 75 percent of the world's crop varieties over the last century.

    It is important to note that, just because a farm is “organic” does not mean it is necessarily environmentally friendly and sustainable. Some larger organic farms still employ monoculture, much like a conventional field.

    Many do not rotate crops and use insect sprays on a massive scale. Similarly, just because a farm is small and local does not imply that it necessarily uses sustainable agricultural practices. These are important distinctions, making it that much more important for you to get to know your farmers personally.

    Farmers Markets and Produce Stands Are Sprouting Up Everywhere

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/3gBwCQspdwo?list=PLA31FBFA8FF6E73A4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



    Total Video Length: 48:03
    Download Interview Transcript

    Given the above, you can certainly see how our existing food system is not only unhealthy, but unsustainable. But there IS a better way. We must shift our food sourcing away from multinational corporations and back to smaller local farms, which really amounts to returning to a pre-industrial food system. This does not mean our food system must be “low-tech.”

    Local farms employing sustainable and high-performance farming techniques, such as biological farming, offer a far superior option, bringing together the best of science and nature. High-tech (but still natural) farming increases soil’s health and water-holding capacity, as well as improving the flavor and nutrient value of our food.

    According to the Biodynamics Association, biodynamics1 is “a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production, and nutrition.” Biodynamic farming works in balance with the cycles of nature. For example, crops are planted and harvested in accordance with phases of the moon that actually enhance crop quality and balance within the ecosystem.

    The recent surge of farmer’s markets and food co-ops is evidence of the growing movement in this overall direction—also known as the “local food movement.” People are reestablishing their passion for food and connection with nature. Heirloom vegetables, normally missing from supermarkets, are being reintroduced. Seeds are being saved and cataloged. A new generation of young farmers is being supported, which reinvigorates local economies.

    According to Grist, the number of farmers’ markets has steadily increased over the past 18 years, with the growth curve steepening since about 2008.2





    Local Farmers Are Not Without Their Challenges

    In order for local farms to grow in number, land must be available near cities. But land is disappearing at an alarming rate—about one million acres per year. Local farmers, and the people fighting on their behalf, find themselves butting up against laws governing urban growth boundaries, which desperately need revision. And these arguments between farmers and land developers will only intensify as our food crisis worsens.

    One way you can help is to support CSAs in your area (Community Supported Agriculture programs). CSAs operate through the commitment of individuals who buy annual shares in advance of the growing season in exchange for regularly scheduled deliveries of fresh local produce. These pre-paid shares help cover farmers’ operational costs and relieve some of the pressure on these smaller farms to market their produce during the busy growing season.

    Real Food Is Slow Food

    Slow Food USA3 has a few tips to help you slow down and build your relationship with real food, which I have summarized below. This is not much different from what I have been advocating for years—returning to a whole food diet and eliminating processed foods.

    Buy, cook, and eat real food with whole ingredients. Avoid processed food with long ingredient lists and GE ingredients.
    When selecting meat, dairy, and poultry, choose grass-fed and free-range.
    Reconnect with your food. Whenever possible, learn the story behind it and meet the people who grow it. Familiarize yourself with your local or regional food history, cultural dishes, and seasonal specialties. Shop at a farmers’ market, visit a farm, or buy into a CSA program.
    Cook and eat with others—not just family and friends. Bring new people and perspectives to the table. Help your children build a relationship with and an appreciation for real food.
    Grow some of your own food! Start in your backyard, community garden or windowsill. Or, join a community garden and grow food with others. Practice composting.
    NOW: Find and Support Your Local Farmers!

    I believe the movement toward local, sustainable food is vitally important, both in terms of human health and the environment, and for the success of future generations. By purchasing your food from smaller local farms practicing sustainable farming, you are pushing the system toward change—and as others join you, a tipping point will eventually be reached that will send big industrial food producers heading for the hills.

    Joining the local food movement doesn’t mean that every single food you eat must come from within a 100-mile radius—but the majority should. Remember, you vote with your pocketbook each and every day. The following is a partial list of resources to help you locate farms in your area. Please also see my sustainable agriculture resource list.

    Slow Food – Founded to counter the rise of fast food and to “unite the pleasure of food with responsibility, sustainability, and harmony with nature”
    Local Harvest -- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area
    Farmers' Markets -- A national listing of farmers' markets on the USDA Web site
    Eat Well Guide -- A free online directory of local, sustainable organic food
    Food Routes Network -- "Buy Fresh Buy Local" (BFBL) chapters help you find locally produced foods

  • #2
    China is refusing to accept US produced GMO corn and soybeans -- and now others are following China's lead. MHG

    Bunge says it will refuse GMO corn trait lacking China approval

    Tom Polansek, Reuters | Updated: 02/19/2014

    http://www.agprofessional.com/news/B...245985321.html

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mhgaffney View Post
      China is refusing to accept US produced GMO corn and soybeans -- and now others are following China's lead. MHG

      Bunge says it will refuse GMO corn trait lacking China approval

      Tom Polansek, Reuters | Updated: 02/19/2014

      http://www.agprofessional.com/news/B...245985321.html
      That is great news

      So even a country like China that has a horrendous food sanitation standard recognizes GMO foods are dangerous.

      China looking out for her people better than the corrupt US government looks after the welfare of it's citizens.

      Comment


      • #4
        where can I buy food that is safe...

        farmers market?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Requiem View Post
          where can I buy food that is safe...

          farmers market?
          Buy locally grown organic food in season, most importantly know personally the people that grow your food or better yet grow at least a part of your food yourself.

          If it comes in a box and the ingredients label has a bunch of words you can not pronounce it's not fit to put into your body.

          Comment


          • #6
            Stopped reading at "Dr. Mercola".

            Dude is a long discredited quack.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Florida_Bronco View Post
              Stopped reading at "Dr. Mercola".

              Dude is a long discredited quack.
              Please show me proof of that. You can't...

              Comment


              • #8
                Wait a minute i thought scientific consensus can find nothing dangerous in GMO foods? Whats the deal with that? I can see how pesticides are a huge concern by genetic modification where the end food tests ok? whats the problem?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cutthemdown View Post
                  Wait a minute i thought scientific consensus can find nothing dangerous in GMO foods? Whats the deal with that? I can see how pesticides are a huge concern by genetic modification where the end food tests ok? whats the problem?
                  I suggest you read up on it

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by baja View Post
                    That is great news

                    So even a country like China that has a horrendous food sanitation standard recognizes GMO foods are dangerous.

                    China looking out for her people better than the corrupt US government looks after the welfare of it's citizens.
                    You do realize that it has nothing to do with the health issue, but rather companies won't share the GMO methods and technology with the Chinese government/companies. Plus because of the higher yields they would disrupt peasant farming.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Corn subsides are partly responsible for the food downfall. Give those subsides to farmers that grow healthy vegetables and fruits instead.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by elsid13 View Post
                        You do realize that it has nothing to do with the health issue, but rather companies won't share the GMO methods and technology with the Chinese government/companies. Plus because of the higher yields they would disrupt peasant farming.
                        Why yes countries around the world are so jealous that they have banned GMOs from entering their borders.


                        Countries & Regions With GE Food/Crop Bans
                        From GENET, the European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
                        ([email protected]):

                        Dear friends,

                        With its new GE free Newsletter GENET will inform about the
                        wordwide increasing activities of citizen groups that call for GE
                        free zones and try to convince their municipalities, governments
                        or private companies to ensure a GE free status of a distinct
                        region or certain commodities. The aim of this grassroot movement
                        is not to work as an isolated group but to establish a worldwide
                        network of like-minded organizations and to steadily increase and
                        connect GE free zones.

                        Below you will find a short summary on different regions which have
                        declared to be GE free by banning some or all GE crops from their
                        territory. This list is by far not complete nor can we provide all
                        respective official documents related to GE free zones. If you know
                        more GE free zones, have relevant articles or even can supply us with
                        copies of official documents, do not hesitate to contact GENET at
                        [email protected].

                        Yours,
                        Hartmut Meyer

                        EU AND ITS MEMBER STATES

                        The recently adopted revised EU regulation 90/220 on deliberate
                        release does not contain direct provisions to enable Member States
                        to declare GE free zones. A respective amendment introduced by
                        the Parliament to give national authorities the unqualified power to
                        take action to protect environmentally sensitive areas was lost. The
                        safeguard clause on health and environmental protection derived from
                        the EU Treaty, known in the existing 90/220 as Article 16, still exists
                        as a mechanism for national protection but is intended to be only a
                        short-term measure pending arbitration at EU level. In practice this
                        Article has been invoked so far by six member states without any
                        enforcement measures being taken by the Commission to repeal the
                        bans.

                        Italy: The four regions Tuscany, Molise, Lazio and Marche and
                        around 25 provinces, cities and communes banned GE crops,
                        including Rome, Milan, Turin, Brescia and Genoa. These are all
                        democratically-taken decisions in local or regional councils and
                        in the case of Tuscany, the result has been ratified by the national
                        government - the decision means that regional governments have
                        been given the authority under Italian law to overturn decisions
                        taken at EU level.

                        Austria: Bans on three GE maize (Novartis, Monsanto and AgrEvo),
                        the Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas is
                        pressing for GM free legislation and published a study on GE-free
                        zones, initiatives in the States of Vorarlberg and Salzburg to ban GE
                        trials.

                        France: ban of PGS and AgrEvo HR rapeseed

                        Germany: Ban of Novartis Bt maize. The initiative "No GE on
                        communal land" of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) launched
                        activities in several German communities to discuss and vote on the
                        GE-free resolutions. Application are launched in: Bad Vilbel,
                        Blauenstein, Lahr, Konstanz, Hannover, Hamburg. Application are
                        accepted in: M¸nchen, Reutlingen, Freidrichsdorf, Blomberg, Seligenstadt,
                        Niddatal, Maintal, Riedstadt, Adendorf, Schwebheim, Pinneberg,
                        Schwabach, Langenhagen, Wyhe, Burgdorf, Neetze, District Traunstein.
                        Several protestant regional church organisations: banned GE crops from
                        their land: Hannover, Hessen und Nassau, Sachsen, Protestantic Church
                        of Westfalen, Protestantic Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, Church Province
                        of Sachsen.

                        Luxembourg: Ban of Novartis Bt maize.

                        Portugal: Ban of Novartis Bt maize.

                        Greece: Ban of AgrEvo HR rapeseed, moratorium of GE crop trials.

                        Spain: The Basque Government went for a five year blanket
                        moratorium for GMOs. The Basque Government claims full powers
                        for agricultural policy and thus that they can provisionally ban GMOs
                        if they so wish. The three provinces of Castilla-La Mancha and Baleares
                        banned GE food, Andalucجa declared a five year moratorium on GE
                        crop trials and GE food.

                        UK: The Church of England has refused permission for GE crop trials
                        on 60,000 hectares of its land, dozens of local authorities supply GE
                        free school lunches, the House of Commons banned GE foods for its
                        catering. The vote of the Welsh Assembly to keep Wales GE free was
                        counteracted by the ministry of Agriculture approving a GE maize variety.
                        The Island of Jersey banned GE crops.

                        OTHERS

                        Switzerland: Although a center of GE science and industry, only two
                        trials with GE potatoes in 1991/92 have been performed until now.

                        Norway: Banned the import of several GE crops and products which
                        contain antibiotic resistance genes.

                        Australia: The State of Tasmania banned GE rapeseed as weed,
                        Western Australia has banned commercial GE planting. Australian
                        States are given the right to declare themselves GE free. Some
                        communities (e.g. Bondi/Sydney, West Wimmera Shire) declared
                        themselves GE free.

                        New Zealand: Some local bodies in Auckland and Wellington have
                        declared themselves GM free. Trials with GE salmon have been blocked
                        by the government.

                        Thailand: Banned imports of 40 GE crops for commercial planting,
                        but not for research purposes.

                        Philippines: The community of Valencia called for a five-year
                        moratoria on GE food and GE crop trials and commercialization.
                        The Philippine president announced a moratorium on GE crop
                        research.

                        Saudi Arabia: Banned food that are made from GMOs and declared not
                        to import GE wheat.

                        Egypt: Declared not to import GE wheat.

                        Algeria: Banned the import, distribution, commercialisation and
                        utilization
                        of GE plants except for research purposes.

                        Brazil: Planting GE seeds is prohibited by federal law in Brazil
                        for the time being, the States of Rio Grande do Sul and Mato Grosso
                        do Sul have declared their intentions to remain GM-free, 18 States
                        called upon the Central government to block commercial GE crop
                        planting.

                        Paraguay: The Ministry of Agriculture plans to ban GE crops from
                        commercial planting.

                        USA: Various bills calling for moratoria on GE food (Vermont), bans
                        of GE wheat (North Dakota, Montana) have been filed within the last
                        year. Several municipalities declared moratoria on GE food
                        (Burlington/Vermont), bans of GE crops (City of Boulder/Colorado),
                        or urged the federal government to ban GE food (City and County of
                        San Francisco/California). Many attempts to adopt such bills or
                        resolutions failed in the past.

                        GENET will update the situation in the USA in a subsequent GE-free
                        Newsletter.

                        [N.B.: At this point nearly 20 states (the count was 16 6 months ago)
                        are discussing GMO-related legislation, including moratorium bills in
                        New York, Massachusetts and several others.]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by baja View Post
                          New Documentary “Ingredients” Looks at the Local Food Movement

                          By Dr. Mercola

                          The American food system is nearing a state of crisis. Ingredients is a documentary that explores the failings of the industrial food model, and how the local food movement is gaining momentum as a far better alternative. The film presents a refreshing look at food from the standpoint of sustainability, safety, flavor, nutrition, culture, and community.

                          This documentary takes us across the US from the urban food deserts of Harlem to the biodynamic farms of the Hudson River and Willamette Valleys, and into the kitchens of several celebrated chefs—culinary game-changers who are teaching us all how to eat better.

                          The current system, focused on cheap convenience foods, is costing Americans dearly. Most Westerners have lost their primal connection to food. Mealtimes used be savored and shared with others.

                          Food preparation is now typically viewed as a chore that interferes with other “more important” activities. This detachment from food represents a cultural “disconnect” between humans and the earth, to the detriment of both. It’s time for radical changes to our modern food paradigm, which is the subject of this uplifting documentary.

                          The Exorbitant Cost of ‘Cheap Food’

                          Americans have become dependent on cheap convenience foods that can be “prepared” in five minutes or less—or without taking both hands off the steering wheel. More than 17,000 new processed food products are introduced each year. Bright, catchy packaging conceals foods laden with chemicals, unhealthful fats, and high fructose corn syrup, all of which contribute to today’s skyrocketing rates of obesity and illness, especially among our youth.

                          Americans spend less on food than any other industrialized nation—an average of $151 per week, which amounts to less than seven percent of their income. How can such a low value be placed on something so important for your health and longevity?

                          The US beef industry has managed to cut its prices in half since 1960. Unfortunately, cheap food contains cheap and toxic ingredients... and you get what you pay for. Food imports have increased four-fold over the past decade, overwhelming the FDA with inspections. Of the 200,000 shipments from China in 2006, less than two percent were sampled for quality and safety.

                          “Cheap food” isn’t cheap when you consider all of the hidden costs associated with it. You make your first payment at the grocery store—just consider this your down payment, because you may be paying for it FIVE more times!

                          Subsidies: At tax time, you pay for “cheap food” a second time with your contribution to agricultural subsidies. Processed food is mostly corn, canola, soy, rice, wheat, and sugar. These products (along with cotton) account for 98 percent of subsidies.
                          Foodborne Illnesses: You may pay for cheap food a third time if you visit your doctor as a result of foodborne illnesses. CDC estimates that foodborne illnesses such as E. coli and salmonella cause 5,200 deaths each year in the US. Mass scale operations are riddled with quality control problems, leading to outbreaks of illness and food recalls.
                          Chronic Disease: You pay for it a fourth time if you return to your doctor later for a chronic illness—heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cancer—consider these “foodborne” illnesses that just take a little longer to manifest. According to CDC, one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes.
                          Environment: As soon as the factory farmer files for bankruptcy and leaves, you pay for your food a fifth time. This is what often happens when they are asked to clean up their land—a monumental expense that often results in bankruptcy, sticking the rest of us with the tab.
                          Energy: The sixth time is when you pay your fuel bill. Processed foods and imported foods have an extremely large energy footprint. One-fifth of US fossil fuel consumption goes to the growing, packaging, and transporting of food.
                          CAFOs: Breeding Grounds for Disease

                          Central to the modern industrial food system are CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and monoculture. These massive food operations benefit no one and are devastating to land and animals.

                          Today, livestock and poultry are typically reared in cages in tightly cramped quarters, with their feed consisting of grains, primarily genetically engineered corn and soy, instead of biologically appropriate grasses.

                          These animals are literally imprisoned and often tortured by unhealthy, unsanitary, and unconscionably cruel conditions. To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding, and poor nutrition, animals are fed antibiotics and other veterinary drugs. CAFOs contribute more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than the entire global transportation industry.

                          Meat products from CAFOs raise your risk for getting sick. Think about it—if you buy a pound of standard grocery store ground beef, you’re buying a composite of thousands of cows. So, if any of those cows had an E. coli infection, then it’s spread throughout an enormous batch of meat widely distributed across the country—or world. This is a problem of scale and density.

                          By contrast, many smaller scale farms naturally keep parasite levels minimal by having lower livestock density and increased diversity. Animals are much less likely to get sick as they rotate through grazing pastures.

                          Monoculture Destroys Soil and Invites GE Crops

                          Monoculture (or monocropping) refers to the agricultural practice of growing a single crop year after year on large expanses of land, without crop rotation. Corn, soybeans, wheat, and to some degree rice, are the most common crops grown with monocropping techniques.

                          Monocropping encourages the use of GE seeds, requires heavy pesticide and herbicide use, and is extremely destructive to the soil, as well as to biological diversity. GE crops and food products pose a threat to your health and ability to resist disease, soil strength, and the global food supply. The earth's soil is now depleting at more than 13 percent the rate it can be replaced due to our chemical-based agriculture system.

                          Today, 92.5 percent of US acreage is devoted to food animals or their feed, with only 7.5 percent devoted to food that goes directly to feeding human beings. Massive monoculture operations have led to the extinction of 75 percent of the world's crop varieties over the last century.

                          It is important to note that, just because a farm is “organic” does not mean it is necessarily environmentally friendly and sustainable. Some larger organic farms still employ monoculture, much like a conventional field.

                          Many do not rotate crops and use insect sprays on a massive scale. Similarly, just because a farm is small and local does not imply that it necessarily uses sustainable agricultural practices. These are important distinctions, making it that much more important for you to get to know your farmers personally.

                          Farmers Markets and Produce Stands Are Sprouting Up Everywhere

                          <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/3gBwCQspdwo?list=PLA31FBFA8FF6E73A4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



                          Total Video Length: 48:03
                          Download Interview Transcript

                          Given the above, you can certainly see how our existing food system is not only unhealthy, but unsustainable. But there IS a better way. We must shift our food sourcing away from multinational corporations and back to smaller local farms, which really amounts to returning to a pre-industrial food system. This does not mean our food system must be “low-tech.”

                          Local farms employing sustainable and high-performance farming techniques, such as biological farming, offer a far superior option, bringing together the best of science and nature. High-tech (but still natural) farming increases soil’s health and water-holding capacity, as well as improving the flavor and nutrient value of our food.

                          According to the Biodynamics Association, biodynamics1 is “a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production, and nutrition.” Biodynamic farming works in balance with the cycles of nature. For example, crops are planted and harvested in accordance with phases of the moon that actually enhance crop quality and balance within the ecosystem.

                          The recent surge of farmer’s markets and food co-ops is evidence of the growing movement in this overall direction—also known as the “local food movement.” People are reestablishing their passion for food and connection with nature. Heirloom vegetables, normally missing from supermarkets, are being reintroduced. Seeds are being saved and cataloged. A new generation of young farmers is being supported, which reinvigorates local economies.

                          According to Grist, the number of farmers’ markets has steadily increased over the past 18 years, with the growth curve steepening since about 2008.2





                          Local Farmers Are Not Without Their Challenges

                          In order for local farms to grow in number, land must be available near cities. But land is disappearing at an alarming rate—about one million acres per year. Local farmers, and the people fighting on their behalf, find themselves butting up against laws governing urban growth boundaries, which desperately need revision. And these arguments between farmers and land developers will only intensify as our food crisis worsens.

                          One way you can help is to support CSAs in your area (Community Supported Agriculture programs). CSAs operate through the commitment of individuals who buy annual shares in advance of the growing season in exchange for regularly scheduled deliveries of fresh local produce. These pre-paid shares help cover farmers’ operational costs and relieve some of the pressure on these smaller farms to market their produce during the busy growing season.

                          Real Food Is Slow Food

                          Slow Food USA3 has a few tips to help you slow down and build your relationship with real food, which I have summarized below. This is not much different from what I have been advocating for years—returning to a whole food diet and eliminating processed foods.

                          Buy, cook, and eat real food with whole ingredients. Avoid processed food with long ingredient lists and GE ingredients.
                          When selecting meat, dairy, and poultry, choose grass-fed and free-range.
                          Reconnect with your food. Whenever possible, learn the story behind it and meet the people who grow it. Familiarize yourself with your local or regional food history, cultural dishes, and seasonal specialties. Shop at a farmers’ market, visit a farm, or buy into a CSA program.
                          Cook and eat with others—not just family and friends. Bring new people and perspectives to the table. Help your children build a relationship with and an appreciation for real food.
                          Grow some of your own food! Start in your backyard, community garden or windowsill. Or, join a community garden and grow food with others. Practice composting.
                          NOW: Find and Support Your Local Farmers!

                          I believe the movement toward local, sustainable food is vitally important, both in terms of human health and the environment, and for the success of future generations. By purchasing your food from smaller local farms practicing sustainable farming, you are pushing the system toward change—and as others join you, a tipping point will eventually be reached that will send big industrial food producers heading for the hills.

                          Joining the local food movement doesn’t mean that every single food you eat must come from within a 100-mile radius—but the majority should. Remember, you vote with your pocketbook each and every day. The following is a partial list of resources to help you locate farms in your area. Please also see my sustainable agriculture resource list.

                          Slow Food – Founded to counter the rise of fast food and to “unite the pleasure of food with responsibility, sustainability, and harmony with nature”
                          Local Harvest -- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area
                          Farmers' Markets -- A national listing of farmers' markets on the USDA Web site
                          Eat Well Guide -- A free online directory of local, sustainable organic food
                          Food Routes Network -- "Buy Fresh Buy Local" (BFBL) chapters help you find locally produced foods
                          This is esentially why I maintain a diet free of any animal product, sans a little bit of shell fish and some salmon, and selective of where that comes from. If I am at someone house or a tailgate and they are cooking up venison, I will have a little bit. But the Beef, Pork and Poultry industry I just can't fathom, frankly, don't want to. Other than that, lots of Lentils, legumes in with fresh fruits and vegetables- we try to buy local a smuch as we can, or at least do in season.

                          My wife and I 95% of th time relish that 90 minutes we have to cook dinner from scratch- we put music on, have cocktails, and just enjoy the process. As we expereince the breakdown of the family unit, you understandhow important that family dinner was, is, and how much most people really miss it.

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                          • #14
                            I shop locally (about 90%)

                            I eat at least 50% fresh fruits and veggies

                            I eat animal products about 20%

                            I eat 1% processed foods

                            I am 65 years old and take no medications, have no aches and pains, sleep like a baby, wake fresh and rested with no morning stiffness. Visit doctors only for check ups. My only noticeable age related deterioration is I use reading glasses.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by baja View Post
                              I shop locally (about 90%)

                              I eat at least 50% fresh fruits and veggies

                              I eat animal products about 20%

                              I eat 1% processed foods

                              I am 65 years old and take no medications, have no aches and pains, sleep like a baby, wake fresh and rested with no morning stiffness. Visit doctors only for check ups. My only noticeable age related deterioration is I use reading glasses.
                              That could be a blood flow issue... lol

                              Alot can be said for good nutrition, exercise, sleep (very underrated) and maintining low stress. My biggest vice is Whiskey and Cigars- I know one of these will likely catch up to me, but you have to live life, something will enetually get you, might as well enjoy the ride.

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