I collected my eleventh CSA box of produce and eggs from Growing Things Farm today. I approached the market today thinking about last week’s recall of 228 million eggs from Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa, which was linked to salmonella poisoning incidents from California to Minnesota. I haven’t researched the history of this “farm” but I would bet the original egg operation once had roaming chickens pecking at bugs and seeds on pasture by day and nesting in a hen house by night. My guess is that Wright County Egg began much smaller but America’s demand for cheap, mass produced and nationally distributed eggs gave them an incentive to grow and grow and grow…even if it meant manipulating farm production methods to a level of silliness resulting in insanely high risks to food safety.
Through the last hundred years, as Americans traded rural farm life for city dwellings (as we’ve seen happen recently in China), we distanced ourselves from the source of our food and became dependent on others to feed us. The convenience food bandwagon took hold of our culture, ran with it, and our appetite for cheap prices at the grocery store grew insatiable. We’ve been stuck in a denial rut for too long. It’s crazy to me that farming with chemicals at a mass scale, mono-cropping, and feedlots are “conventional.” When my grandmother was a child, today’s conventional farming would have been very strange indeed. Free-range, organic chicken eggs were just regular eggs then.
Thankfully there are lots of small to medium sized farms emerging to change our backward ways. These new sustainable farms are traditional farms who use modern conveniences to produce food in a responsible way…working with nature, not against it. I vote with my fork by eating food produced on these farms. I want to eat this food in order to save sustainable farming close to home.
Vote WithYour Fork & Eat It To Save It are similar: if you want a certain food to be available, you buy it in order for the producer to keep supplying it for you. Do you want cheap, mass produced eggs with no respect to flavor, biodiversity, animal welfare, the environment and labor practices and pay for the clean-up later or risk lives? Or would you invest now in good, clean and fair food and prevent future environmental and health tragedies? You pay either way…one is much more pleasant. There’s no contest.
No food producer of any size is in the business of making food to sit around on store shelves collecting dust. It’s meant to be eaten by people. Every time we buy food, we send a “demand” message to our food producers to “supply” more. Food producers listen to consumers. No doubt you’ve heard this all before, but isn’t it time to speak out and hold food producers, processors, retailers and distributors accountable? Stop getting distracted and speak out.
When are we going to demand more from our food producers?
How many food recalls is too many?
The efforts of those in the good food movement are working to unpack and redesign the food system starting in our own communities. You can get involved now by taking an active role in demanding good, clean and fair food for all. Here’s some things you can do now:
- Shift your attention away from packaging, ingredients and health claims and just enjoy real food again.
- Ask how and where your food was grown, harvested, shipped, and processed.
- Ask about labor conditions and trade practices.
- Ask how animals were fed, housed, transported and slaughtered.
If you don’t believe what you are told, at least you can drive to a local farm and see for yourself. You have a right to know. You are what you eat.
This week’s box included:
- half dozen eggs (small flock, pastured, organic)
- 2 pints strawberries
- 1.5 pounds of summer squash (I traded a pound of potatoes for these)
- 2 big ripe tomatoes (Brandywine and Beefsteak, I think)
- 5 slicing cucumbers
- 1 pound mixed lettuces
- 1 pound wax beans
Apparently there were peaches in the box but they were smooshed, so I get more next week.
I’m pretty happy with this week’s box. I am even more thankful for this food and for the people, plants and animals that produced it for me safely and deliciously.