So what’s it going to take to get your community hooked on sustainable food? If you are reading this, you probably already know about many of the problems with our food system and you're probably making some efforts to change your buying and eating habits. But what about your parents? Your neighbors? The people shopping the inside isles at conventional grocery stores in your town? What is it going to take for us to reach out to that next layer of eaters and entice them with sustainable food?
Let's start at the beginning - what is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)? Sugar as we know it traditionally came from sugar cane and later from sugar beets. HFCS was developed from corn in the late 1950s, refined for industrial production in the 1970s, and introduced into many processed foods from 1975-1985 - a big dietary and nutritional change that went largely unnoticed over the past 35 years.
To start at the beginning, what are Genetically Modified Organisms? GMOs have had their DNA altered in a way that doesn’t happen naturally. Individual genes are transferred from one organism to another to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, including transferring between non-related species (such as placing jellyfish genes in pig embryos to create glowing pigs). The process is referred to as "modern biotechnology," "gene technology," "recombinant DNA technology" or "genetic engineering."
I recently read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and was shocked. Published in 1962, it attacked the use of pesticides and read like a story that might have been written today about the detrimental effects of ____ (fill in the blank), a product that hasn’t been properly tested, but is being sold anyway.
As a child I had strep throat on a regular basis. The doctor would diagnose me by putting a giant Q-tip into the back of my throat to check for bacteria. I was given penicillin, amoxicillin, and tetracycline - at least those are the names of the antibiotics that I remember.
In the United States we are blessed to have fresh water that meets many of our needs. If we want to continue to enjoy all the benefits of that water, we have no choice but to take steps to protect and properly treat it. Otherwise we can keep our heads in the sand and wait for someone else to fix the problem. But hey, there's water on the moon, right? I'll start packing.
Once people have access to a well and a toilet their lives improve drastically, especially so for women. In Malawi women and girls are typically responsible for bringing water to the household, a task that can sometimes take an hour per trip, for as many as 10 trips each day. Many women make these trips in the dark and are subject to sexual harassment and rape. They typically spend so much time finding water that many women are unable to spend much time with their families and as they grow older, many girls no longer have time to go to school.
Nothing says summer like strawberries, but before you bite into your next, read this. Methyl Bromide, a soil fumigant often used on strawberry crops, was phased out in the US by 2005 because it was depleting the ozone layer. The phase out was based on the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Clean Air Act. And what did they replace it with? Another toxic pesticide.
Filmmaker Josh Fox interviewed families whose drinking water wells had gone bad after fracking began on or near their land. Their water is now discolored, foul-smelling and in many cases flammable. For the most part, the drilling companies claim no responsibility, although many have settled claims with victims.
I don't recall eating kale for most of my life. It's not that I didn't know what it was it's just that I didn't buy it, cook it or know that it was edible. As a teen, I can recall the salad bar at Sizzler (a family favorite) being decorated with its curly leaves stuffed into the ice - not something that would have been mistaken as a crudite and piled onto your plate. It must have slipped quietly into my diet when I started studying nutrition. Even then, I was taught about its superfood properties, but didnï¿½t think much about those hardy, dark, green leaves.