corn products, crop failure, farming, food, food giants, food patents, genetically engineered, grain, herbicide, malnutrition, money, pesticide, seed, small farm, subsidized food
Just how much is food and health tied to money? They’re inseparable. But don’t miss this one. It’s a big hitter. If we don’t understand these concepts and do something about it, then the effects are national, even global, and catastrophic. It all started with a well-meaning idea to figure out how to increase food production for a starving world. But it quickly began to get out of control.
What do you think happens when the large pesticide and herbicide companies buy out the seed companies, genetically alter and patent features of plant cells that are herbicide/pesticide resistant, and ensure that those plant’s seeds (such as genetically engineered corn, soybean, canola) are the most widely used for food production (thanks to government subsidies)? What if these mega giants go even further and sue farmers who unintentionally end up with the company’s patented product growing in his fields (also forcing the farmer to destroy his own stored seed base because it is now contaminated with the patented product)?
Here’s what happens (and has happened): You now have a cleverly devised, giant scale food monopoly consisting of a few mega companies that control the majority of food production from seed to market. A great disaster is awaiting us. The immense diversification of plant seeds and genetic varieties for farming is being lost. And as a result of relying on relatively few varieties of genetically engineered seeds, unknown genetic side effects in the plants may render crops a failure in certain geographic regions, due to disease, weather or soil conditions. When this happens, there may be few other sources of natural seeds to use and certain crops may not be able to be grown on a wide scale for years until sufficient quantities of other seed varieties can be reestablished. In other words, unpredictable food shortages and high prices.
It seems like the so called solution to world hunger (by the food production giants) could actually be the very cause of future food shortages. And it doesn’t help when countries can import subsidized food products cheaper than they can grow them – it puts the local farmers out of business and makes more and more people reliant on the food giants. This actually has the effect of increasing world hunger should there be a glitch in the mega food production. For a fascinating documentary on this subject, watch The Future of Food (for free) on Hulu.
But supposing everything goes according to plan and there is plenty of highly processed and/or genetically engineered foods to go around. What then? Is our modern food production system safe and healthy? On the whole, no. For the most part, food was much more healthy for us when everyone had their own garden. But because most of us don’t know the first thing about gardening anymore, and because the majority of our diet consists of highly processed “food” products, we have brought on the cause of much of the health problems that affect the “civilized” nations. Malnutrition and obesity together! We are what we eat!
Genetically altered corn based products are killing us, among others. And we are not eating enough vitamins, minerals and fiber. As a result of our ever poor diets, we turn to the drug companies for the answers to our symptoms (and they’re more than ready and willing to “help” supply us with a pill for every ailment). We don’t even think to look at our nutrition as the possible cause of our health issues. Doctors don’t really go there anymore. Most simply write out another prescription. Wisdom in food therapy like the Gerson diet is frowned upon.
For a real eye opener on these topics, watch the movies Foodmatters, Killer at Large and Fat Head.
So what can we do? We should grow our own foods and/or buy from the local farmers markets, buy organic, eat raw fresh fruits and vegetables as often as possible, eat superfoods regularly, and avoid over-processed foods (if there are a bunch of ingredients with names you can’t pronounce then chances are it’s over processed).
Let’s re-learn basic nutrition. Try juicing (for a great story on juicing, see Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead)! The food producers and grocery stores will cater to our likes and dislikes. We have all the power – if together we start eating smart again.
This takes practice, and I’m as guilty as anyone in not eating right. In fact, after recently adding the reference to Killer at Large and stating how corn products are killing us – just that same afternoon I happily ate fried corn chips and corn flour tacos! Some habits are hard to break. 🙂