The ominous subtitle of Eric Schlosser’s bestselling “Fast Food Nation” is “The Dark Side of the American Meal.” There is one food poisoning and contamination scare after another from beef to spinach to peanut butter to ground turkey. The latest is cantaloupes. You know the line, “It must have been something I ate.” Indeed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that food safety problems now account for roughly 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths annually. The growth of local food, community gardens, closer to home food networks, community supported agriculture subscriptions, and farmers’ markets are increasingly popular alternatives to industrialized agriculture. At the same time the economic crisis limits choices for many families. The healthiest foods can be costly. How can we create a sustainable and affordable food system?
Joel Salatin is a pioneer of chemical-free farming and an advocate of local food. He runs the Polyface Farm in Virginia. He is featured in the bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma and the Oscar-nominated documentary Food Inc., as well as Fresh: The Movie.
Tonight, leaving the city, I was once again reminded of the dangers of TV. I also was reminded of the policing of food, and found it amusing that the right to eat whatever one needs to get the energy to go shoot, pray and preach, is not that well protected. Good job Joel. I am a true believer of chemical free / non processed food, and intend to pass that on to my kids.
What a joy to hear this funny and inspiring talk. There should be a word for the experience of being awakened by old ideas stated in new ways. Whatever that word is, that’s what I experienced listening to this. It ends up being revelatory and invigorating. One thought: “Homes have to become the center of life instead of pit stops on the way to other things that are more important. Until we do that we will never move forward with this localization agenda.” We need to reclaim the production of our food and it’s just not that hard. Start with just one thing, he recommends, and you’ll make a difference. Grow something. It will be a healing experience, for you, for the earth.