Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Keep Calm and Eat On

         This time of year always has me thinking about food- Ok well if I'm really honest I think of food all year round- but it is this time of year my mind always turns to that of food production- more specifically my garden! Now our garden isn't big by any means- it is as stated here before a small container garden up on our eighth flood balcony- which in our area of the city is quite the luxury. From about now through to mid October we utilize every inch of space in our outdoor oasis- and this includes growing a small amount of our own food.

       What initially started out as a way of showing our city kids where their food comes from has turned into more of an obsession on my part to see how much food we can actually grow in the small space afforded us. Last year was pretty good- this year I think I have our list of veggies figured out- what works and what doesn't. We just started our seeds yesterday on our window sill in small pots- can't wait for things to start sprouting!

         It totally kills me how much food costs these days- when I try to express my concern in regards to our food source often people mistake my worry for penny pinching- which could not be further from the truth. We try as hard as we can to buy the best quality food we can afford- this means whole foods- be they organic or conventional depending on the source- good quality meat and little to no packaged foods. Our family is privileged because we can do this- cooking from scratch takes time and time is money- often families don't have time to cook dinner at home. So where am I gong with this rant of mine? My biggest question is when did good food become a privilege?

      As our little family of four keeps growing and our not- so - Littles consume their body weight in groceries I wonder just how long we can sustain our healthy, whole diet. What completely slays me is that a handful of corporations control our food source and costs- our society is at the mercy of big business. I know this alarmist information is nothing new however with the extent of drought sweeping the United States our food prices are sure to be on the rise again. It is with this in mind that I am planning out our garden this year- every time I put a loaf of bread into the oven I cost out how much I just saved- knowing that the $3.50 I just saved will be spend on another pound of stewing meat or butter.

       I think as our society gets farther and farther away from the actual act of food production we are becoming ever so disconnected to reality- does anyone else notice that those nice big blocks of cheese we all feed our families have a weird texture? Do you notice how milk doesn't taste like milk? How tomatoes are mealy and white most of the year- ditto the strawberries. As I mentioned my concerns have been brushed aside as penny pinching tendencies- this is not the case. It alarms me that we have forgotten what real food tastes like. It alarms me that it is easier to take a supplement in pill form than see the real food on the dinner table. It alarms me that real food has become a privilege and not a right.

    "These companies fight, tooth and nail, against labeling. The fast food industry fought against giving you the calorie information. They fought against telling you if there is trans-fat in your food. The meat packing industry for years prevented country-of-origin labeling. They fought not to label genetically modified foods; and now 70% of processed food in the supermarket has some genetically modified ingredient." Eric Schlosser- Food Inc

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