After watching Food Inc. this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about where my food comes from (China, mass operation, or local farm), what’s in it (have I just eaten corn products all day?!), what it’s doing to my body, and what kind of business practices I’m encouraging by buying each product.
Though upon further research, some ‘facts’ in the documentary are not-so-factual, there are some important lessons to take in. There are definite benefits to supporting your local, small-time farms and ranchers. If anything is apparent in our economy, it is that it really does make a difference where your money ends up – there’s no better place than in your own region. Every dollar spent is a vote for what should be made more available. Capitalism can be made to pay attention. Check out Eat Well Guide at http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home – it’s a searchable, region-specific database of everything organic available publicly, listing anything from ma-and-pa produce to u-pick farms to farmers markets in your area to trip-planners. Great tool.
Though mass-produced food may have its place – because of our current models, whole foods are much more expensive and subsequently less available to low-income families. These are the same families that may not be able to afford healthcare, so they’re forced to eat cheaper (junk) food, causing more major health concerns, causing more need for medical care (likely paid for by others)… see the vicious cycle? 8% of the population currently is diagnosed with diabetes. “1.6 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older in 2007.” “One out of every five health care dollars is spent caring for someone with diagnosed diabetes, while one in ten health care dollars is attributed to diabetes.” (http://www.diabetes.org) Maybe cheap fast food isn’t so cheap in the end.
I am genuinely concerned about the future of our healthcare system. At this rate within our current system, few will be able to afford good healthcare in the very near future.
A few fun facts to wrap this all up: Let’s explore what subsidized corn production has brought us!
baby powder, Febreez, Duracell Procell batteries, beer, carpets, ketchup, instant coffee/tea, wallpaper, shoe polish, inks, soft drinks, spark plugs, asbestos insulation, baby food, crayons, and apple juice.
Soylent Green anyone?