We recently re-watched the documentary Food, Inc. It has been a few years since I had seen it and my hubby never had, so on a freezing Sunday afternoon, we watched, and woke up all over again. There is a lack of awareness, perhaps even denial on some of our parts, some of the time, of where our food is actually coming from. We have this romantic notion that the meat we buy in grocery stores and restaurants comes from beautiful green rolling pastures where cows graze freely in the sun. Not the case.
There is nothing romantic about a feed-lot if you have ever been by one.
And it’s not just our meat that doesn’t measure up to our expectations and or ideals. It is veggies, genetically modified and raised on insufficient soil, with chemicals to make up for the lack of nutrients. It is our milk, processed, preserved, and shipped for miles and miles adding up not only monetary costs, but detrimental costs to our health as well. The processed, packaged food that is sold to us as commonplace is not so common. It is modified beyond what food should be manipulated, and we the consumer and our children are the scientific guinea pigs.
So what can we do, you say, as we are only mamas and daddies, grandparents, and friends…just the average Joe. You may feel you have no leverage, no authority, no control over this situation, but oh dear ones, do not be deceived.
You my friend, ARE THE CONSUMER.
I will say that again, in case you missed it.
YOU ARE THE CONSUMER.
WE ARE THE CONSUMERS.
We are the ones WITH the control.
We are the people that these companies spend millions of dollars marketing to. We can take back control, take back our health and the health of our country as a collective by becoming educated about what we are eating, buying, and spending our money on. Because that is what it has come down to….the almighty dollar. We are exchanging our health for cheap food. If you don’t believe me, take a look around your local grocery store, or X-Mart. The obesity and diabetes rates in this country are off the charts. Could this be a result of our altered food supply? Perhaps. Did you know that it is estimated over 80% of people in our country are insulin resistant? What does that spell out for our future? Rising health care costs for pharmaceuticals that could have been prevented, simply by understanding what we really need to nurture our bodies and enjoy optimal health.
The organic foods movement is a direct result of consumerism. We the people wanted a better quality product. We demanded it, and we put our money down on the table for it. Do not think that you do not matter, as a consumer we all matter. The large corporations and big box stores are paying attention to where our money goes.
The changes may be subtle, but they are there. Apples in fast food restaurants, local restaurants featuring local meat and produce, farmers markets and roadside stands, are all proof of this. The more we demand to have a better quality product, the more we will get. Support those places that support local family farmsteads, homesteads, and producers. Better yet support your local makers, bakers, and growers by directly seeking the source.
What if you could obtain homemade yogurt, or pastured chicken from your neighbor or best friend, farm fresh eggs straight from the coop, and veggies right from the garden? Wouldn’t that be wonderful.
You can. You just need to ask. There are many out there who would be happy to help, and in turn it helps them to feed their family wholesome nutritionally sound food.
Or better yet, grow your own.
The myth is that we don’t have time to get our hands dirty and grow our own food. The truth is we don’t have the skills and tools to do so. There are many creative ways to grown more than enough food to feed your family on a small amount of land. Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew is just one example of many. In his book he highlights how to get the most production out of the smallest amount of land and work. There are plenty of choices in technique, and this blog post from The Elliott Homestead highlights wood chip mulch techniques. And just for good measure here is a post on how to grow potatoes in a trash can. Seriously.
Lets stop believing the lie that we are too busy to grow our own food, that it is too much work, and not worth the time. We need to invest in our health by choosing our food wisely. Because food is medicine. The old adage of “you are what you eat” may glean deeper meaning.
This is my passion, this is my life. This is what is good and true to me. This is why I share and how I try to live. My intention here is to educate, empower, and encourage. Not point fingers or blame. No guilt or shame involved, just simple awareness. Each and everyone of us striving to make the best, most educated choices that we can for ourselves and our families.
I once had someone ask me if I felt that by having so many children (4), that I was ruining the earth? I was shocked and bewildered by this question which caught me quite off-guard as my four precious little ones played nearby. My answer remains, No. I believe that I am helping to heal our planet by choosing a low-impact, organically minded simple life, of raising our own food and children the way God intended. My hope is to share this love and vision with not only my children, but my family, friends, neighbors, and community…both online, and off.
That’s what this homesteading movement is all about, empowerment. Take back your health and your power of choice, by getting educated and aware of what you are spending your time and money on. Money talks. This is the language of big corporations and government. Its time to start speaking their language.
*Food Inc. and Farmageddon are both available to watch on Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon Instant Video and on DVD.
**Parents please be sensitive to the ages of your children and screen these videos first. I would not have my kiddos watching these if they were still littles. They do contain some graphic images. Use your best judgment as to what is appropriate for your family.