It’s been a full week of food issues at the Miller casa. I, Lesley, am buried in yogurt related marketing duties for a brand that shall remain nameless (Yellowberry? Nah. Orangeberry? Nope. Redberry? Getting closer….) As a result of my late nights at the office, Jonathan is also up to his neck in food related duties. Mainly, he’s become chef for the week so I can concentrate on getting stuff done. And then, there is the real reason for this post: farm fresh food, my thoughts on seeds, and Jaime Oliver.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse veggie since I’ve talked about my farm box several times now in the last few months. But, will you humor me with one more post? Pretty puhlease?
On Saturday, before Redberry hell week began, we headed to the Capay Valley with our friends Sam and Sharon to attend a farm tour at Full Belly. The farm holds tours several times a year, and I didn’t like the thought of visiting in August during 100 degree weather. Saturday’s blue skies and breezy air were a perfect excuse to open the sunroof and get out of Sacramento.
What I appreciated the most about our tour was seeing firsthand the people who stand behind the food we eat each week. Full Belly is owned by two couples who have farmed the land since 1985. They are passionate about the work, treat their employees fairly, and believe in natural farming practices. I found many parts of our walk fascinating, but what I enjoyed most was seeing how everything works together in such a miraculous way. Sharon said it best–how could there not be a creator when you see the way He’s crafted the world? The picture above shows just some of the few thousand chickens on Full Belly’s property. The chickens are moved from field to field every week so they can roam and peck, feed and poop. (Resulting in healthy soil, no need for weed killers, and lovely eggs and meat.)
That night, we finally rented Food, Inc. The contrast between our day at the farm, and the images of America’s large scale agriculture and meat packing practices, was striking. Oh sure–the images of nasty meat and chicken coops really turned my stomach the wrong way. But, what worried me the most, was the segment about Monsanto. Monsanto is the leading producer for genetically engineered seeds and “Roundup,” a herbicide used to kill weeds. Interesting that the seeds Monsanto creates grow into plants that are resistant to Roundup. Which basically means farmers can dump Roundup on their plants, killing all the weeds around the crop, but not the crop itself.
Even more intriguing/concerning? Organic farmers like Full Belly suffer as a result of Monsanto having so much control of the seed market. On Tuesday, we received this newsletter from the farm. In it you can read about Monsanto aquirring Seminis (the holder of the Early Girl tomato patent) in 2005. As a result of that purchase, this is the first year Full Belly can’t buy Early Girl tomato seeds because they can no longer find untreated seed. How sad! Early Girls are a staple on many farms. I have to wonder, are we moving towards a future when all seeds are genetically engineered? And, can that possibly be a good thing?
My questions may seem silly to some, or too “green thumb” for others, or just plain liberal. I don’t ask them from a political angle. I ask them simply from a health angle. Why, as we gain new advances in technology, do we abandon a food system that for many years was working just fine? What is wrong with eating food without the preservatives, the additives, and the scientific tinkering?
Not convinced our food system is broken? Rent Food Inc. or check out Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC. It’s a new show about food in America. I think you’ll find it funny, charming, alarming and entertaining. And then, leave me your thoughts.
Mmmmm… I think it’s about time for some processed dessert. Good night!