Every Monday I plan on taking some time to talk about what is happening in the food world beyond my kitchen and my shopping experiences. This morning I watched a Food Mythbusters video on the topic of Sustainable Farming vs. Industrial Agriculture. Here is another case where the standard, the norm, whatever else is doing, is not good for our health, our taste buds, or our bottom line. I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this short video. I will chime in with what I think afterward.
Farmers Feeling Trapped
No one wants to feel trapped. It's not a good feeling. People don't want to go hungry either. They need to support their families. So a lot of farmers go against what they would personally desire and jump on board the industrial agriculture wagon. There is little to no support for those that want to do things the old fashion way. Too many companies with big dollars have influenced our government. It's a sad story.
Doing the Unnatural
The big industrial way is all about growing large amounts of a single crop. But doing this comes with a huge price. It's not good for the soil. If you read pretty much any book on home gardening, you will find the author encouraging crop rotation. It's good for the soil. Growing a single crop makes crop rotation impossible. Thus the soil is drained and more disease is introduced. So then the farmer has to turn to chemicals to overcome this problem. And once you get on board with chemicals you become like a drug addict. You need it. You depend on it. You will need more eventually just to get the same result.
Lost of Pollinators
In recent years I have heard a lot about the declining bee population. There has been trouble pinpointing the exact cause. From watching this video it seems at least part of the blame placed on the increased use of chemical fertilizers.
Lost Top Soil
One piece of information that really surprised was the loss of top soil. We are losing 64 tons per acre of top soil every year due to industrial agriculture practices.
More About Food Mythbusters
Food MythBusters is an initiative of the Real Food Media Project, which is a a project of Anna Lappé and Corporate Accountability International. Anna has been traveling the world over for the past 12 years studying sustainable farming. She is out to debunk the myths that industrial agriculture as we know is the only way to go - otherwise we won't be able to feed everyone. Check out her website for ways you can help spread the news that we need to get back to doing things the right way.
What Can You Do?
What can one individual person do? This is a massive problem. Things are not changing over night. It will take years of work. Years of people letting their voice be heard. You can't led the scope of the problem stop you from acting. Here are some things you can do:
1. Share this post with your friends
2. Buy as much as you can from local farmers practice sustainable farming
3. Grow your some of your own food
4. Avoid supporting (with your wallet) companies that support and promote industrial agriculture
5. Read books to become more educated. Here are some options: The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm | Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre | The Profitable Hobby Farm, How to Build a Sustainable Local Foods Business
6. Participate in Real Food Fridays. Click here to learn more.