“Sustainable” is a term that gets used a lot in today’s society. People are quickly waking up to the realization that it’s not really quantity of food, but quality of food that makes the bigger difference. Three hundred years ago when everyone raised the majority of their own food, the future generations, their health, and their ability to raise food on the family land was closer to the hearts of the men and women farming the land. All farms were sustainably maintained.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the rule. In the mid-1900’s, a change began to occur and continued with snow-ball momentum. US agriculture began to industrialize, with farms becoming reliant on machines, petroleum, synthetic and fertilizers and harmfully potent chemical pesticides and herbicides. Farms became specialized and centralized, forcing farmers into a mass-production frame of mind. Mono-species farms became the national pattern because the “greater efficiency” and economy of scale became necessary in order for farms to succeed.
Today, most of the chickens consumed by our country are raised indoors on hard-floored sheds with the lights left on for 23 hours a day. Even eggs from a grocery store labeled “cage free” usually come from chickens crowded into dusty, dirty chicken houses. Most “cage-free” hens live in flocks that can consist of many thousands of hens who have little to no interaction with the out-doors. Today industrial farms are using and abusing terms common to sustainable agriculture. Terms like “cage-free”, “Omega-3”, “natural”, and “free-range” don’t mean all that the terms imply. I’ve seen eggs proudly advertised as “pasteurized” . I’ve heard customers mis-read “pasteurized” as “pastured”, and vice-versa. These are NOT the same thing! The venerated term”organic” means precious little even when today’s government regulations are “met” in order to purchase the organic label. That’s right, the “Organic” label is a term that has to be “purchased” from the government.
This false facade of industry farming must be understood and apprehended if we are to move to the future with any health for ourselves or the land that is essentially being raped by chemicals and poor management.
Joel’s advice to know where your food is actually coming from is so valuable! We need to know who is raising the things we put into our mouths to nourish our bodies! We need to know that the things we eat are being raised ethically, sustainably, and without the use of synthetics and props, holding up a crumbling system.
You are the voice of a nation. You, as a consumer, cast the vote for our tomorrow.