Our current system of food production and distribution is dangerously unsustainable. It depends upon highly concentrated production of animals, vegetable monocultures (increasingly genetically modified), intensive application of herbicides and pesticides, massive consumption of fossil fuel and overconsumption of unhealthy, unnutritious food. The system is a chain in which all the links are weak. There is a very serious risk that the chain will break and there will be a severe food crisis. At a minimum the system will begin to unravel as the soil is exhausted, nature overcomes the poisons, oil becomes scarce and we become nearly uniformly sick and overweight.
The alternative to this mess isn’t some fantastic new invention or scientific breakthrough. Rather, the solution is strikingly simple. We just need to reclaim food production. We need to return to more traditional ways. We need to opt out of the industrial food system.
First of all, everyone should grow as much of their own food as possible. Contrary to the commonly-believed industrial myth, it is not necessary for folks to have large farms or expensive machinery to grow their own food. Families can produce more food than they can reasonably eat in the average size backyard. City-dwellers with no backyard can grow lots of healthy food in window boxes and rooftop gardens. It is not hard and it is extremely rewarding. We just need to turn off the TV, get a little dirt under our fingernails and enjoy the gifts of the good earth.
Secondly, folks should partner with local farmers by becoming members of a CSA or by shopping at the local farmer’s market. Local farmers can fill the gaps of backyard production and enable communities to free themselves from the ill effects of industrial agriculture. It is almost literally insane to buy inferior, unhealthy food produced thousands of miles away, when there is far superior, much better tasting food being produced right in the local community.
Finally, for those who are suffering from food insecurity due to poverty and poor health, people should help get healthy locally-produced food onto their plates by joining with local churches and other groups which make it a priority to not only feed the hungry, but feed them responsibly.
The industrial food complex spends billions of dollars seducing us into craving and buying the stuff they sell. It takes a little self-control to refuse them. But the rewards of doing so are great.
The current system will likely collapse someday. Maybe soon. Why not beat the rush and start eating responsibly now?