I’m sitting in a local joint, in my small town, and I’m supposed to be writing something else but I’m distracted. I can’t shake seeing a farming friend eating out of a sack from a drive-thru.
We are finally getting bothered enough that doctors don’t receive adequate training about diet to talk about it. We tweet that they only spend four hours or so in most medical schools on the subject of food and we complain about the antiquated information they dole out. We rally for the evolution of the medical system to a healthcare system, not just a disease response paradigm…and the whole time I’m watching my friend eat what no person should consume while we artfully dance around the fact that I spend my time fighting for a different food system than he does.
Doctors are not the only group of people who should logically be educated about the basics of food. Farmers should understand food beyond the commodities market and the propaganda from synthetic ag corporations who are dependent on being farmers’ only source of information. Some of the most intelligent people I know are farmers. Why is a basic understanding of food, nutrition and diet not part of their formal education?
The industrialized mono-cropping system is reliant on my friend eating from that sack.
The current system can’t survive unless farmers buy into large scale, commodity focused, chemical dependent, subsidized agriculture and in order to do that they have to buy into the Standard American Diet.
Because of what I do, I know and interview a lot of growers and farmers, both small holding and industrial. There is a divide between the sustainable/eco-ag/regenerative proponents and the industrial/degenerative/mono-croppers and it isn’t political ideology. It is the individual’s understanding of food that determines what and how they produce it.
If they eat the standard American diet, they produce for it. If they eat real food, they grow it.
It is a terrible irony that so many people who farm in this country know so little about food.
It is easy to dismiss it as willful ignorance but industry has spent enormous resources to keep growers immersed in their propaganda and demonize alternative models. Since I was a proponent of conventional ag and still receive a lot of this information, I understand all too well how shut off from objective information a person can become. I know how much is invested in the current system, the amount of debt, time and social equity tied up in this belief, or bet, that the conventional, industrial model is the path.
What we subsidize benefits industry, not the people eating it.
Sure, farmers grow what the market demands, after the market has been manipulated by monied interests, like lobby groups and industry, and government. But growing a better system is more than moving subsidies around or swapping conventional inputs for Organics Board approved inputs. Farmers have a true paradigm shift when they understand food, both what constitutes real food and why it matters. It is then that they take the leaps necessary to grow ethically, in concert with the systems that nourish all parties involved.
And with that observation, I need to get back to work. Eat well, be love, live truth. Katy