Much is discussed and argued in the media and online communities these days, about the state and the future of the food system. Many take note that our national eating behaviors are worse than ever. Others suggest that there are better ways to feed the nation. Most just sit back, observe, and continue to accept the status quo. Pass the hydrogenated, sodium laden, 20-year shelf life butter substitute please.
There is no shortage of opinions on the subjects of fast food, GMOs, obesity, diabetes, local farming, corporate monocultures, high fructose corn syrup, and the varied eating styles and dieting fads which fall in and out of vogue these days. These conversations are ubiquitous, but are they productive…?
It’s obvious something is wrong. It’s obvious there are potential solutions. It’s obvious that there are as many people who care about improving the food system, as there are people willing to exploit it, or settle for it in its current state.
I’ll suggest that the following statements are true:
- We would all like to see a more mindful food system.
- We would all like to see more intelligent uses of the food system; one which promote healthier lives, and healthier lifestyles for everyone.
- The food system, in its current state, is not set up to promote health as a first priority. Rather, it exists to promote profit as a first priority – acknowledging though, that there are some considerations for health by some components within the food system.
- There is an increasing awareness among many segments of the population that the food system is faltering, but can be improved upon with corporate and individual diligence.
- To improve the food system, there will be required a spreading of awareness by way of activism, networking, volunteering, and use of the social media.
So where am I going with all of this…?
Changes of this magnitude don’t take place overnight. Being Americans though, we do look for those changes overnight. That’s not how social change works. I’ll suggest if we just take simple actions daily, and encourage our children to take simple actions daily, we can look to the future for change in hopes that our children’s children will reap the benefits of the sacrifice we make today.
I have begun to think about the changes in our food system, and our use of the food system, as being analogous to the American civil rights movement during the middle part of our last century. Change comes slowly. We often don’t see change as it manifests around us. That doesn’t mean that change isn’t taking place – just ask Darwin.
We can look back at a history of widespread hatred; lynchings, church burnings, and acts of racial prejudice in the early and mid-20th century America. Today, we can look around us to see black head coaches, generals, CEOs, and even a president.
Are there still hatred, prejudice, and acts of violence against non-whites…? Of course there are. However, these instances are fewer, and further between, by far, than they were 40 years ago. Looking back, it took decades of consistent grassroots efforts, volunteering, activism, spreading social awareness, and sacrifice for those changes to slowly manifest. To this day, those changes must be guarded.
I look back at the progress though, that has been made with civil rights during the past 6 decades, and I do have some hope – if not for the food system of today, for the food system of tomorrow, through the work being done today.
A lynching today would not be acceptable. Perhaps people 60 years from now will feel the same way about giving a 1,500 calorie milk shake with 225 grams of sugar to a child after school. We still lynch, but it’s just a drive through kind of lynching. The #3 Value Meal has enough calories to support a human life for 2 days AND, it costs less than $4. We lynch ourselves, and we lynch our children – it’s just a slow lynching.
I understand there is a large difference between racially based hate crimes, and the offering of junk food to a loved one. In that sense, perhaps we should refer to the ritual of sharing unhealthy foods as, love crimes. Think about that; love crimes.
Take note: My comparison of racism in America to the faltering food system is not about the severity or intentions of either. There is no comparison. Prejudice is an evil that far exceeds the dangers of Pop-Tarts, and aspartame. My comparison is about the time required to see tangible results in changing social trends of any kind.
Take action today. Teach your children today. Have hope for the next generation, if not for tomorrow. Be well. rc
Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there is this from, The Men. Enjoy…