Tag Archives: food industry

How Change is Going to Come in the Food System

Here is an article by Michael Pollan off his site, which is worth checking out. http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/how-change-is-going-to-come-in-the-food-system/¬†Pollan has written numerous books on the food industry such as The Botany of Desire, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemna, and Food Rules. He is a journalist, but his books cover a large range from reporting to¬†philosophizing. He is essentially¬†the writer on the modern food system.

His article is practical and examines how problems will be solved, rather than the problems themselves. The article expresses one of my beliefs, that the sustainability of modern farming is in the end a matter of simple self-preservation. There are many people who have a deep connection with the land and see this as a reason to keep it healthy. But there are many more that don’t put any energy into forming this connection. I think the government, with its concern for economic and social issues, falls into this category. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this prioritizing. People will find what is important to them and fight for it. The environment might not even be a factor in many decisions. But in the end, whether we feel a connection to it or not, we all rely on the environment for food, for livelihood. Whether it is important to you because of its beauty or because of the resources it can provide, the land and how we use it will define how long and how well we will live on this planet.

I realize I have zoomed out a lot from Pollan’s article. Coming back, we know that no matter how much we believe in this cause, the change we want will uproot an “entrenched power.” And as Pollan points out, we have to prove to these powerful people what they can stand to gain from change before anything will happen. We have to take a practical approach to our organization, making allies as we spread and showing people how it can benefit them personally. The best approach will be not only open-minded, but practical and interdisciplinary.

In the words of Prince Charles, “It is, I feel, our apparent reluctance to recognize the interrelated nature of the problems and therefore the solutions, that lies at the heart of our predicament and certainly on our ability to determine the future of food.”


Vegetarianism in Nature’s Context

A lot of people I’ve talked to about vegetarianism disagree with the idea because they think that eating meat is natural; there is even evolutionary evidence like the shape of our teeth that proves we are meant to eat flesh. Personally, I don’t disagree with the idea of humans eating meat, I just don’t support what is done to our meat nowadays. I know that for humans and animals to survive, we must naturally kill and eat other living things. For me, however, the motive does not justify the very cruel, unnatural means. It is not natural to continually impregnate a cow to keep up her milk production or to milk her with a painful machine. Many people say that nothing is morally wrong with milking cows because the cows enjoy being milked. This is fundamentally true; I think that the cow is more than happy giving milk, provided that it goes to her calf, just like a mother nursing her baby. What would you think if human mothers were repeatedly impregnated to continue producing milk? A cow’s babies will either follow the same path as her, or if male, be sold to other farmers as veal calves. They will be kept in a crate on an anemic diet, never to see the light of day until they are shipped off to slaughter. That life is not natural, nor moral if we consider a similar fate for humans. What about genetically modifying a chicken so that its breast is so large it will have leg problems and pain? Many die starved, unable to make their way to food or water with legs broken under their weight. Farmers keep the lights on for 17 hours or more a day to trick their laying hens to continue producing eggs; they often live only a month and a half. Piglets must be castrated and their tails and ears clipped, often without any sort of painkiller. To me, this treatment seems both unnatural and immoral. I used to disregard vegetarians as ignorant fanatics who don’t understand the evolutionary truth, but now I see that most are just people who exercise self restrain for the sake of morality and sustainability. Somehow we have come to the sad and pathetic point where it is better for the earth not to take on our natural diet.