On the way home tonight I stopped at a local fruit market and bought some fresh corn. Freshly grown in a field not more than one hundred yards away from the stand where I was purchasing it. The farmer’s daughter (no kidding) was bagging it and made sure I got some good ears, while the farmer’s son unloaded bags of corn that he had just picked. Wow I thought myself; most of the food that comes to my table travels 1500 miles and that this didn’t travel fifteen hundred feet. Somehow I felt empowered and it sure brought back a lot of memories.
Although I didn’t grow upon a farm I did spent summers putting hay up and surely did my fare share of eating locally grown milk, eggs and meat that our family purchased from farms in our area. So when I came across the video about life on the farm in the 1950’s (see the blog roll) I had to laugh. I actually did that stuff. But times have changed and there is another video of what life is like on a farm today that every one of us needs to see. The Meatrix.
It isn’t near as funny as the mystery science theater film and it puts a lot of stereotypes about farms out to pasture. CAFO’s or factory farms as you will need to think of them, produce most of the food that will be on your table tonight and that is bad. Bad for the environment and bad for the stability of our food supply. Many of the animals raised in a CAFO are feed antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. Antibiotics as we know are becoming less and less effective against the newest strains of infections. Sure we can develop new antibiotics, but it’s just a matter of time till our CAFO’s become slaughterhouses and we all sit around wondering how it all happened.
It’s one thing to grow acres and acres of spinach and lettuce in these new mini factories but when it comes to animals we just can’t seem to shake the idea that “Bessie” should be grazing all day in a fresh green pasture before she is milked. And that milk when it is sent to us fresh and homogenized is better for us. Yet labeling is not always up to date. In the “Omnivores Dilemma,” you can see that calling something natural or antibiotic free doesn’t necessarily mean it is a safe as you would think. Corporate America is well aware of the “buzz” words that set you off. So calling things “bio solids” or residual waste” make marketing easier, but the product in reality is still being grown in sewage sludge from the city. So if I can offer one caveat, read the labels. Ask questions and be a concerned consumer. You owe it to yourself to eat safe.
After you see the MEATRIX, take a look at the site and type in your zip-code and you will be directed to places that use locally grown meat and veggies. This works for anywhere in the country you might be from, not just Western Pa.