Where does your food come from?

Since other people have said it best, first I will start out with some large quotes:

5 Reasons To Care About Where Your Food Comes From

1. Big corporations don’t have YOU in their best interest. Some food corporations put a lot of salt, sugar and fat in our diet because it is cheap, fast and easy. Does this include healthy? Nope — and if you saw what it takes to add salt, fat and sugar into ‘food’, you probably wouldn’t even want to eat it.

2. Knowing what’s fed to animals is knowledge of what’s being fed to YOU. Most people make a stink about commercial farmers that give antibiotics to animals because eventually those antibiotics will not work for you. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it concerns what animals are being fed. Need I remind anyone of mad cow disease caused by cows given feed mixed with diseased animal parts? That issue may be in the distant past, but did you know that grass-fed cows don’t get sick the way corn-fed animals do?

3. If you don’t care, you may end up spending more on your health (or illness) care. Spending less of our income on food doesn’t necessarily make it good for us. In fact, the less we spend on food, the more we spend on health care. Today, 9.5% of our income goes to food, the cheapest it’s ever been for us in the U.S. — a proud achievement of government-backed commercial agribusiness, but we’re not any healthier from eating cheap, over-processed, packaged foods.

4. To determine for yourself what is actually worthy of a ‘food’ label. Much of what you see is not worthy of the term “food”; instead, they are edible food-like substances. (Food Rules) Almost everything Americans eat contains corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat, and corn-based processed foods, the staples of our modern diet.

5. Our government (USA) does not subsidize healthy food. The American food system is built on the abundance of corn — an abundance perpetuated by a subsidy system that pays farmers to maximize production. What this translates to is that you will have to do your own homework — expensive television commercials won’t be advertising local farmer’s markets or healthy organic fruits and vegetables. You have to overcome the ‘outta sight, outta mind’ concept by taking the first steps towards putting information and resources about food on your radar at all times.[via]

Nowadays, many of the toxic chemicals used in farming are a public health concern as they‘re closely linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, abnormality, deformation, mentally retarded diseases among the babies and other chronic or acute health issues due to both chronic long-term exposure and acute poisoning. Additionally, the medical personnel have connected pesticide exposure to memory decline, destabilisation of moods, Parkinson’s, depression, asthma, migraine, irritable bowel, rhinitis, eczema, aggressive outbursts and 40% of them have been proved to be cancer promoting. The toxic genetic chemicals (such as hormones, steroids, herbicides, insecticides and etc.) for example, can cause destruction to environment, ecosystem and food webs if they’re used widely in agriculture or on foods. In short, the combination of multiple chemicals is extremely harmful to both our health and environment.

Lets take apples for example. Apples are picked even they’re still green (under ripe), and be loaded in the truck. Once the truck reaches the warehouse, these apples are sprayed with thiabendazole for about 20 minutes. This chemical has been known notoriously for causing birth defects or deformations. It’s really sad to see that immoral merchants have used this strong ingredient to treat the apples! After sorting out the apples carefully, the apples are treated with preservatives such as 1-methylcyclopropene (1-mcp), diphenylamine to keep them juicy and crispy. Before keeping storage in a warehouse for at least 3 months (may up to a year), the apples are waxed with shellac or carnuba wax. In the warehouse, they’re kept refrigerated to 32 degrees with reduced level of oxygen and this helps to make apples last longer. They may have appeared to you juicy and crispy but instead their taste has gone away. [via]

Why looks aren’t everything when it comes to produce.
We’re picky about our produce. And we work to bring you the freshest, finest Certified Organic fruits and veggies from the most reliable suppliers. We’re always here to credit any less-than-perfect item and answer your questions. One of the questions we’re asked is “Why doesn’t this organic apple or banana look ‘as good as’ a “conventional” one?” Here’s why, when it comes to store-bought produce, looks can be deceiving…

Extreme Produce Makeover
Today’s consumers are raised on TV, airbrushed photos and carefully manipulated images designed to sell illusions of perfection. But when it comes to produce, looks aren’t everything. Chances are that shiny apple, or yellow banana are gassed, bathed in pesticides and fungicides or injected with food dyes that make them a toxic treat for the senses.

Let’s slip into bananas. We’ve recently had some quality issues with this family favorite. This is because February and March are traditionally tough months for banana growers. Soaring humidity makes their crop very vulnerable to rot. Organic growers typically treat this disease naturally, with aids such as grapefruit seed oil extract. It’s not a perfect system. But the blemished bananas contain far fewer chemical contaminants than their photogenic golden “conventional” counterparts.
“Conventional” bananas are picked before they ripen naturally. Calcium Carbide, ammonia or sulphur dioxide then ripens them at super-speed. In high concentration, these toxins may damage the nervous system, kidneys and liver. The bananas might also be soaked in the carcinogen benonomyl, and repeatedly sprayed with pesticides.

Tomatoes are also picked before maturity and shipped long distances. They’re gassed with the plant hormone ethylene to ripen them and may be injected with red dye for eye appeal. Because the “conventional” tomato was never truly ripe it’s now vitamin deficient…unless you count the nutrient value of its chemical fertilizers, pesticides, ripeners and dye. And its taste pales next to a vine-ripened, fresh organic tomato full of flavour.

What about “juicy” ‘conventional’ grocery store apples? They’re full of enough preservatives to change the slogan to “an apple a day keeps decompostion away.” Picked while still green, apples are sprayed with thiabendazole at the warehouse, a chemical known to cause birth defects. After sorting they’re treated with preservatives to keep them juicy and crisp, and then covered with shellac or carnuba wax.

Overall, there are many variables that affect the look of our organic produce—as well as quality and availability. One factor that’s growing in importance is climate change. For example, this year in California extreme drought devastated farmers. In India, disastrous gales wiped out mango crops. And in Florida, farmers felt the chill as the coldest winter in decades played havoc with their citrus harvest.

After all, as Joni Mitchell wrote, “Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees.” Organic produce may not always look as “pretty” as its ‘conventional’ counterpart, but it’s less toxic and more tasty. [via]

So what to do..
1. Eat foods that will eventually rot – the faster the better in most cases since that shows they are alive.

2. Eat meat that has been properly fed and are treated humanly.

3. Buy locally as much as possible, if you can know the name of the person growing your tomatoes – then do it! It is great to be able to ask ‘how did you grow this’, ‘what chemicals where used’ and ‘how is the family’.

I think that our large disconnect with our food has to do alot with our lack of community. If we can just walk into a store and get what we need when we need it (24-7 in some cases) then we don’t have to talk to the farmer or seller. There is not connect to the food and no distraction from us getting home to see that TV show. I think that there is such a loss of community, I loved going to the Health Food Stores when I was younger! Mema or Dad and I went in and we knew the people. They would chat, catch up with how the family was and actually know each other. People, especially farmers and natural food market workers are such a wealth of knowledge – why you would not want to have them as your friend and resource would make no sense. Ill have to write another post about community, and leave this one to knowing where your food comes from.

I have not yet made the switch over to knowing the farmers in my area, I am abit ashamed to admit to this since my town has such a great market, but I am trying! (photo above is from our local market) So much of the food in Norway is produced in Norway – but I want to have a more local food supply. This coming week I will be visiting our farmers market (which is open everyday), the meat market, the fish market, and will be back out to our Organic Farm to try to source some local milk. I will be asking tons of questions and hoping that I don’t scare the people with my bad Norwegian or use of English! Ill report back soon on how it goes and what I find. I am excited at the thought of local food not packaged in plastic.

What do you think?