Monday, March 23, 2009

Change we can taste

The day after I wrote about the use of genetically modified corn products (confectioners sugar and corn syrup) in the Caramel Chocolate Tart on the cover of this month's Saveur (a recipe from Marlow & Sons) came this article from the New York Times about how corporate food, in particular beverage makers, are switching back to sugar.

Then today I get up and see in the New York Times this article: Is a Food Revolution Now in Season.

It's not like I want to blow my own horn, but the revolution is brought to you daily on UrbanFoodGuy and has been for a year. Not that I was first or anything like that, but it's nice to know the cacophony of voices from people like me and the thousands of others who post videos on You Tube, blog, sign petitions and generally raise their voices for change we can taste are starting to cohere into a reportable movement.

The corporate elite have for far too long hijacked the abilities of consumers to make clear, conscientious decisions about our own food. They have done this is so many ways, lobbying to prevent the clear labeling of foods that are made with GM ingredients, suing dairies that put labels on their milk products specifically saying that they did not use recombinant growth hormones on their cows, spending millions, if not billions of dollars on lobbyists to guarantee their profits, undermining the health of not only their customers, but the planet upon which they live.


Economists will never agree with what I am about to say, but they probably aren't reading this anyway so I'm not going to worry about it. Food, like medicine, can not and should not be commodified. The idea of constant growth doesn't work in these instances and corporations have proven again and again they are not to be trusted and should not be left unregulated. We are now seeing the devastating effects of deregulation in the financial markets. The rise in use of pesticides, fertilizers, GM seeds etc, came when corporations took over farming and made farmers grow fields upon fields of one crop only: corn, wheat, or soy, oh my!

In all things in life, the planet, on it's very own, has created and encouraged diversity. It is when we go against this that we start having problems. Remember the Irish Potato Famine, anyone? Smaller farms that grow a diverse crop have less problems with pests then huge single crop corporate farms. The fact of the matter is that pesticides and fertilizers (like those made by Monsanto) are at best unnecessary and at worst actively destroy our food production capacities in the long term and our natural ecosystems.


While on the subject of diversity I find it sad that so many people in this country feel it is their mission to make us all the same: heterosexual, white, suburban and preferably Christan. That is not what America is. It's not what the world is. Just looking at the last two hundred years of American history I think it is clear that these forces of intolerance and ignorance have always been wrong. Shouldn't we be happy that the neighbor down the block grows blueberries while we grow pears so we can share and make all of our lives fuller and more interesting? If the people who raised in excess of 60 million dollars to defeat prop 8 (77% came from Mormons) to promote hate, narrow mindedness and intolerance had spent that money on eliminating world hunger, don't you think that would have been a better use of all that money? Or gave it to farmers to diversify their crops or help fund any number of smaller community based agriculture initiatives, or seed to table programs, or..., or..., or... The list goes on. Think of what a positive change for good supporting diversity would have made. Instead they aim at monocultures, not only of crops, but of culture itself. Diversity is nature, it is unnatural to go against it. If one believes in God then one has to believe that God created this planet with that idea in mind, otherwise we would all be living in a MacDonald's commercial.

OK I know that was a bit of a digression, but if you can't digress on your own blog then where?

I promise something light and silly next - maybe even a recipe!



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