Saturday, July 31, 2010

where does your food come from?

(cage free hens, courtesy of Food,Inc Blog)

This has been on my mind tremendously in the last 10 months. Since E came home. And recently, I saw the documentary Food, INC which was (in no small words) eye opening. Gradually we have been making slow changes to organic, whole foods in this house (organic milk, cage free eggs, etc). And even though I understood there was massive corruption (exploitation of workers, cruelty to animals, hormone injections, pesticides, etc)-until watching this documentary, I'm certain I didn't realize the extent of those truths. This film is very well done, and doesn't shove the cruelty in your face (though it gave me a taste that has lingered and is horrifying). I can't imagine companies that treat animals this way caring at all about what goes in MY body, or in my community, or the global community at large.

So. I emailed a good friend who is the dean of environmental engineering at our local college. And I found out that our little town has a local food co-op with amazing vision and this gives me tremendous hope. After reading their website for an hour, I promptly submitted my one time fee for lifetime membership. And I look forward to the day that our local food store opens, as I am finished with aisle upon aisle of junk at our grocery store and the poor choices in produce/meats (no organic selections for meat).

This isn't just about protecting the rights of workers and animals. This is about our health as well. Americans have the highest obesity rates than any other country (and I think we can thank convenient, processed, and fast foods for that). I'd rather pay now, than pay later in health care costs. And I can't help but wonder how many of my own (rather minor) health problems are in fact related to the poor fuel I've put into my body over the years. I catch everything in terms of colds/flues, etc in spite of vaccines for the latter (currently battling a nasty summer cold or bronchitis, not sure which).

Every single time you choose organic foods/milks/etc you are casting your vote. And the more we vote, the louder voice we have. I will pay the additional costs until those prices come down as we all start to make smarter choices for ourselves and for our children, and yes, for the workers that are exploited and the animals that are (literally) abused right along side them.

So, we've decided to chuck inching along and making small changes for the mass overhaul approach in how we eat in this house. Which will include, of course, packed lunches for everyone, especially E- apparently inmates eat better than what she has been served at her public school. (see this Article)- (and sign the petition for change at the end of it!).

"The average food item travels 1500 miles from farm to fork.
The use of local produce in school meals not only mitigates
environmental impacts, it also instills healthy eating habits,
connects kids with local farmers to teach them about
food and agriculture, and provides farmers
with a new direct market"

~(from website, Hungry For Change)~

Knowledge empowers. Know what fuel you are putting into your body, into your children's growing bodies. And know how even the smallest choice has the power to cause harm, whether you see that in action or not.


  1. I read "In Defense of Food" about 2 years ago and after that we totally switched to non-processed foods. I do a lot of organic and local, but the biggest rule is no chemical products, high fructose corn syrup or msg. (Basically if I can't recognize all the ingredients or find them in Publix, I don't buy it) It has made a huge difference in our health. Neither kid has had a sick day from school for over two years. I am a HUGE believer in eating the right stuff and feel the cost and time commitment is totally offset by how much we are saving ourselves in doctors bills later on. (We do eat out occasionally, but no more than once a month when not on vacation, so I feel it probably won't kill us!)

    So that is my high-horse there, but this is something I feel very strongly about. So yeah and kudos to you! If you find any great recipes, (or good substitutes for things we can't eat any longer) let me know!

  2. Here! Here!! Organic is the way to go!! I got hooked when I found out that non-organic dairy & meat can facilitate the onset of puberty in girls (as young as 6 or 7!!) ALL the way for us!

    Thankfully, there have been many more of the organic type stores opening up here in NYC. Yay!!

  3. yep, my family has been going local/organic/cage free for about 15 years, but more so since our two girls came home from China. I'm part of the food revolution baby! Patricia hit the nail on the head re; precocious puberty...thats why our girls will never not ever eat a school lunch, processed meat or dairy. Better for us, better for the environment and better for the entire planet.

  4. One thing I don't put up with is cruelty to animals. I have no patients for that kind of crap. NO PATIENCE for it. As a matter of fact, if I followed my conscience close enough, I should be, to all intents and purposes, a vegetarian. The fact that I'm not might deservedly level an accusation of hypocrisy against me.

    I would love to go organic. But how do you verify if something is organic or not? There is such a thing a misleading advertisement.

  5. It's frightening, isn't it? I watched Food, Inc a few months ago on PBS (when I should have been in bed, but I couldn't look away). We are trying to make changes. I am waitlisted to purchase meat from a local farmer. I grew a small garden. It's small, but I think it is worth the effort.

  6. Couldn't agree with you more. I really worry about the pesticides on fruit and veg, and the hormones in the meat I am giving Hannah. Unfortunately Slovakia does not have a huge organic alternative!

    I also saw something on CNN recently about this kind of thing, and including the chemicals which go in a lot of plastic that babies and children come into contact with (bottles, pacifiers etc.) and the huge damage that can do. Scary what our children are ingesting without us knowing.

  7. I drive 45 minutes to go grocery shopping almost every week, even though there's a large supermarket a mile from my house. I do a lot of shopping at Trader Joe's because they deal more with local suppliers and sell more affordable organic products. Especially glad to hear that so many others are sticking with organic dairy and meat. There are rising fourth graders in my youngest daughter's class who already have their periods - as far as I'm concerned, the result of ingesting too many hormones in meat and dairy products. We just got a food co-op the next town over and I'm planning on checking it out!

  8. I want to recommend a great author for clean eating. Her name is Tosca Reno. She has some awesome books on eating clean but the one I really love is one she wrote about getting kids to eat clean. I think you would really like her books. They are also glossy and beautiful to look at too. :o)

    Wendy @

  9. I whole heartedly agree with your sentiments. I am a graduate student and so money is very tight. Eating organic and local was cost prohibitive for me. But one of my friend's sisters who isn't much older than me (I'm 24) was just diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy. I was talking with my doctor at my annual exam later that week and she stressed that drinking organic milk was imparative for women, especially as a factor of mitigating breast cancer!

    Except I was a college student and there were weeks where I was buying milk with the spare change in my wallet. I didn't have more money to spend on organic. But where there is a will there is a way. 6 months ago I applied for and got a job working for an organic farm selling produce at local farmers markets on the weekends. One of the perks is the owner of the farm encourages you to take as much food as your family needs to eat. As a result I've noticed great changes to my body and also, surprisingly, psychologically. Plus the food tastes really, really good.

    I've learned so much as a result of working for a certified organic, salmon-safe farm. A couple of tips... check out local farmers markets as well as CSAs. If your unfamiliar with a CSA it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You're right, buying organic is a vote for organic, but one of the largest obstacles for farmers is cash flow. Farms need capital early in the season to finance planting, but make their money on the back end, largely during the summer and early fall. Thus, when you purchase a CSA you agree to front money to the farm (normally in the winter, before planting) and in return you get a box of wonderful offerings from the farm every week. Because you up front to the farm, your money goes further and you get more than if you were buying from them directly at a farmers market. Your CSA is thus an investment to a farm. According to Farm Aid, every week 330 farmers leave their land. As a result, there are now nearly five million fewer farms in the U.S. than there were in the 1930's. Of the two million remaining farms, only 565,000 are family operations. Just something to think about.

    A lot of our CSA customers like this because they write one check once or twice a year and know they will have great produce throughout the year/season. Additionally, many of the larger CSAs will ship produce to you over night if you live far away from the farm.

  10. Totally love this post! I've been an "organic/all natural" gal for awhile as well as a shopper at a local market that is full of local farmer's bounties. I look forward to my shopping days and know exactly where my food comes from. We also go to a local egg ranch for our eggs and get a heck of a better deal then buying them in the market. Enjoy this new change in your will LOVE it!

  11. I am so with you on this! We need to feed our kids healthy food and not crappy pesticides. I would love to have a co-op near us. I have made some serious changes to the girls food in the past year or so but still have more to make. We have to keep our kids healthy.


  12. It won't be easy, but I will start by plucking up the courage and brave the local fresh produce market near my place.