Last night, I watched the movie FRESH for an educational meeting for local dietitians–and received continuing education credits for having a good time:)
The movie started with this statement:
Americans are scared of one thing: inconvenience
Whether you agree or not, this is a movie to watch.
The movie inspires people to choose sustainable options. Our current food system, according to the experts interviewed, is not. The biggest problem they see is monoculutres, which means growing one type of species by itself.
Monocultures– completely unnatural–lower plants’ ability to fight disease. The soil needs different crops at different seasons to replenish the good bacteria and organisms that fight bad and disease-causing bugs and organisms. When corn or soybeans are farmed on the same soil, year after year, the soil is drained. Farmers have one the solution: pesticides.
When livestock (cattle, pigs, chicken, turkeys, bison, etc) left the farm, and the farm started growing one type of plant, the natural cycle is broken. Here’s how it should go: animals on farm create manure, manure is used to fertilize plants, plants are healthy and nutrient-rich, animals eat plants and produce healthy and nutrient-rich meats and poultry. And so on.
When the cycle is broken, there’s no place for animal manure to go, creating a pollution problem. And plants need some kind of fertilizer, thus chemical fertilizers become necessary.
Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, said–don’t have the exact quote:
We’re not farming animals, we’re farming grass. If you take care of the grass, it will take care of the animals
I like is view.
Many of the food contamination problems we are facing these days are related to how we farm our plants and animals. Remember the e-Coli problem from cattle manure contaminating spinach?
Eating sustainable sounds great and I think people want to do it, but I see 2 challenges:
- Sustainable foods tend to be more expensive
- Sustainable foods are not available everywhere
Every person or family has their own financial agenda, but I wholeheartedly believe that we can bump food up on our priority list. We used to spend a big proportion of our income on food then. Now we don’t. Michael Pollan said about sustainability:
It costs more, but it’s worth it…you get what you pay for
For the second problem, here are some links to help you locate sustainable foods in your area.
- Local Harvest: find farms, CSAs, local groceries, co-ops, restaurants, …
- Eat Well Guide: click on Featured Guide, type your state/city, and you will get a guide of activities, places, restaurants, bakeries… (ideas for family fun!)
- Read more about FRESH. Check the Resources and Call to Action sections
- For Washington DC, Northern Virginia folks: check Washington DC Green Grocer. Trust me, you wont get boxes of kale! This week’s mixed box has potatoes, asparagus, celery, egg plants, cucumbers, lettuce, apples, mandarins, pears, mangoes, and banana
- Buy Fresh Buy Local in Virginia. Just Google your state and find out what’s going there
- Polyface Farms deliver to several buying clubs in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Find out if there’s one near you.
- Green Zabiha sells organic halal foods. I talked to the owner before and he is phenomenal. They have very high standards for the meat they sell, and they deliver
- Visit Connect Nutrition for more information, publications, public policy, movies, books, and blogs about sustainability. I met the owner last night as she was one of the panelists after the movie, and there are many resources on her website
- Will Allen, who showed in the movie his sustainable farm on 3 acres in Milwaukee, is giving a workshop in Lynchburg, VA on March 5 and 6. Anyone local up for it?
No need to flip your kitchen upside down. Find one thing you can do NOW, and incorporate it in your life. The rest will follow. Do you have more ideas or resources that you can share with us? I’m sure there are many others trying to make a difference.