Are we living in a “Food Mirage?”
You might have heard talk of “food deserts” among people concerned about securing our food supply. They are referring to places where there is really no fresh, healthy food available to consumers. The only options are gas stations and convenience stores.
Here in River Falls we seem to be in more of a “Food Mirage,” where we have what appears to be a strong food delivery system that provides what looks like healthy food and plenty of it (more work needs to be done to assure that EVERYONE had access ~ as in “can afford it”). But in general most residents can get enough food, the shelves are full of bright packages, and the produce looks nice at least.
“Looking at the country now, one cannot escape the conclusion that there are no longer enough people on the land to farm it and take proper care of it. A further and more ominous conclusion is that there is no longer a considerable number of people knowledgeable enough to look at the country and see that it is properly cared for ~ though the face of the country is now everywhere marked by the agony of our enterprise of self-destruction.”
~ Wendell Berry
“Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food
However, as we are now learning, it isn’t “nice” for a whole load of reasons ~
1. Corporate agribusiness (environmental threats like chemical pesticide and herbicide use, unsustainable fossil fuel dependent fertilizer use, soil abuse and misuse, GMOs, farmer serf system, monoculture, etc)
2. Long distance trucking of products
3. Unhealthy food products
4. Animal cruelty in confined animal feed lots (CAFOs) and huge abusive meat raising systems in general
5. Manure pit pollution from CAFOs
6. Migrant worker (and food production/ slaughterhouse workers) mistreatment
7. Vulnerable production/delivery, a “just in time” system that operates on a three-day long pipeline from warehouse to market.
There’s more including overuse of antibiotics and hormones, food-borne illnesses that do not respond to treatment, loss of plant diversity and thus hardiness…
Knowing this about our food choices puts them in a whole new light.