Every Buy, Every Bite Changes Our Food from Field to Fork
Is it a grand truth, or just grandiose, to say: The simple act of eating can change the world!
We believe it is a grand truth: our eating does change the world for better or worse.
Just think of how our food choices impact the economy! We can feed the world, restore soil, care for farm workers, eat and drink healthy, contribute to local food independence, change policies, wean farming away from industrial, corporate-run agri-business—in a phrase, change the economic paradigm! And, we can do this by our daily eating choices. We do not need to add a major project to our tightly-scheduled lives! We need only do differently what we already do two or more times every day! The differences required are both doable and demanding. They are invitations and imperatives.
Is it true or false? How we shop for our food does more to impact hunger and than our charitable donations to hunger?
True, though both are important.
Reconnecting with our food sources, growers, and soil is a key! Agri-business and supermarkets have created a food supply chain that totally disconnects our forks from the fields and our health from their profits. These fragmenting, unhealthy disconnections are facilitated through convenience food, agribusiness’ technologies, market-concentration in food and drink corporations, and supermarket over-choice. We can re-weave a living fabric that reconnects us with the animals and plants we eat, with the soil, with food’s and water’s sacredness, with the disenfranchised species and people, with preparing (processing) food for the table, with local growers, and with the community of all life seeking daily food and drink. This reconnecting is a transforming activity. Anytime we connect with the unfamiliar, the inconvenient, the “other” that is outside our comfort zone or current identity, transformation is likely. This is what happens as we re-learn sustainable ways to eat and drink.
Is it true or false? Earth can still produce enough food for all seven billion people.
It’s true. Distribution, corporate domination of the food system, and most of all the need to re-establish local food supplies through traditional, local wisdom are the challenges to feeding the hungry.
Our focus is not on diets, nutrition, and many other issues of healthy food and drink, though these are all important. Our focus is on the structures and how they express the ethics, politics, economics, ecology, justice, and spirituality of our eating and drinking. A promise: Working together on this component of the new economy will fill each others’ plates with eye-opening insights and doable practices.
The Great Fork in the Road: The Ethics of Eating
Now for some specific practices that we at JEM regard as very important. Whatever we are already doing, it is time to choose even more structures of sustainability through our eating and drinking choices. These are spiritual practices, recovering the sacredness of food and drink.
First, we must wean ourselves from supermarkets and big box stores as much as possible, recognizing they are outlets for agribusiness and its structuring of the current unsustainable, unhealthy food supply system.
Next, we can shift to as many of the following options as work for us:
- Join a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm and receive regular deliveries of fresh produce. (Search the web for such farms near you.)
- Shop at a food cooperative. Some require members to volunteer, but many do not.
- Buy from local farmer’s markets AND get to know some of the farmers and their love for what they do as well as their challenges.
- Urge schools, hospitals, and nursing homes to revisit their food supply choices and prioritize health.
- Eat out in locally owned restaurants, avoiding chains.
- Read labels for the most locally grown options.
- Read Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
- Visit foodandwaterwatch.org for a premiere website guiding our eating and drinking choices.
- Visit organicconsumers.org for a great website on organic food put up by the Organic Consumers Association.
Help Others Make Good Food Choices
- Show the DVD Food, Inc. or another documentary on food to some friends.
- Invite JEM to give a workshop on this topic.
- Already buy CSA? Buy a share for a friend.
- If you shop at farmers’ markets, bring a friend along for the tactile experience, and then share a dinner made from the day’s yield.
- Share your newest practice on the Forum or in blog comments here at Jubilee-Economics. Leave a question. Post helpful ideas.