Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fresh Thoughts

Well, it has been a lot longer between posts than I ever anticipated or desired. I have had many ideas and not as much time as I had hoped to get these thoughts into cyberspace.

Last night I was able to attend a showing of Fresh which is in essence a sequel to Food Inc. The showing was at a local farm close to Glen Rock, Spoutwood Farm, which is also a CSA and still taking members for this growing season. This was the first of their summer movie series and was well done with numerous fans keeping us cool in the barn for the showing and vibrant discussion of the issues afterward.

As I mentioned, for me, Fresh was a sequel to Food Inc. Food Inc exposed the food industry for the fraud, deceit, inhumane working conditions and unthinkable treatment of animals, not to mention the plethora of chemicals that we are ingesting and the environmental effects of industrial farming. Fresh, however, gave hope for the future and how we can change the food system in our country. Here are some highlights:
  • Industrial farming is unsustainable, meaning the environment cannot maintain the level of abuse it is taking from the food lots.
  • The natural rhythm of farming has been disrupted by segregating the animals onto one condensed lot and one plant type on another lot. This requires food to be shipped for the animals and something done with their waste and fertilizers to be shipped for the fields. If various animals and plants live together on one farm, the natural rhythm can be of benefit to the land and the crops/animals.
  • Pests have become worse by growing the same crops year after year in the same field requiring the use of harsher and more harsh chemicals. The soil cannot maintain its nutrient source by growing the same crop each year either and then requires stronger (chemical) fertilizers.
  • Chickens are packed into small cages and most never even see the light of day or the feel of grass. Their beaks are seered off to prevent them from pecking each other. Pigs on feed lots have their tails cut short as they tend to become frustrated in their living conditions and bite each other's tails.
  • The run-off from the feed lots is an immense disaster of which we are not even aware. Many water supplies are being poisoned and we are oblivious to this fact (Read more about this at Grist)
  • Companies that are involved with industrial farming assert that they are "feeding the world" and that this is the only way it can be done. However, most of the food they are growing does NOT end up on someone's plate, but in an animal (which was most likely not designed to ever eat corn) or processed into additives for processed foods (think HFCS and hydrogenated oils).
  • Most of our food has been genetically altered and requires specific fertilizer and herbicides in order to grow. Now that genetically altered seeds have been patented, companies are requiring farmers to purchase new seeds every year instead of harvesting their own seeds.
  • Our fruits and vegetables of today have significantly LESS nutrition in them compared to the same fruits and vegetables of 40 years ago.
But all is not lost! Here are some that are farming the right way (and they believe that if you make sure your soil is top notch, the rest will follow):
  • Will Allen ( is a former pro basketball player who currently resides in Milwaukee. He is committed to community farms and training people to be able to farm in a sustainable, organic way (even in the city). He believes everyone should have access to affordable, nutritious foods. He has won numerous awards and is using aquaponics and composting as staples of his farming.
  • Joel Salatin ( was also in Food Inc. He has perfected the use of the natural inclinations of animals to have a sustainable farm. I highly recommend looking at his site as well as some of his videos. His farm is 4 hours away, but I would love to go visit him. He has a high regard for the animals and plants in his care and makes sure they are allowed to express their "cowness", "pigness", and "chickeness", respectively.
  • David Ball ( has created a chain of grocery stores containing local, natural foods that are supplied by various local farmers. I wish the Good Natured products were available here!
So, you may be asking, what can I do?
  1. Vote with your wallet- buy local, buy organic (both, if possible), stay away from processed foods
  2. Go to Eat Wild and Local Harvest to find local, organic farms for both meat and produce.
  3. Join a CSA and support your local farmers!
  4. Sign petitions, write, lobby for change in the government subsidization of crops and for stronger requirements on food labeling (I would like to know if I am eating something that was genetically modified, wouldn't you?) and for less use of harsh pesticides and herbicides.
  5. Start as many meals as possible from scratch! Here is a free, donation-only course on how to cook healthily from scratch I am planning on completing.
  6. If you go to a local market, ASK where the food came from- you may be surprised how often it does not come from your local area!
  7. Start a small garden or grow a few veggies/fruits in containers. 
  8. See if you can find a way to start a community garden in your immediate area.
  9. Educate yourself. I just picked up an organic gardening book and Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I have also been reading as many articles and blogs and watching as many videos that I can get my hands on!
  10. If you do shop at a chain grocery store, tell them you would like them to carry more local, organic foods. 
  11. Remember that the average meal travels 1, 500 miles to get to your table- what can you do to reduce that number?


  1. I just bought "The Omnivore's Dilemma", I'll let you know how it is! I have Food, Inc coming on Netflix this week!! I am excited to watch it.

    Here's a post with some really great recipes for green cleaners. I use the "Gorgeously Green All-Purpose" spray all the time, I love it!

  2. Yes- I want to read that one! Maybe I can borrow it when you are finished :)


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