I’m seriously concerned about what kind of food I’m eating, what’s in it, where it came from, and how far it’s come. The factory farming industry makes me sick to think about, and I worry about getting sick from meat rasied there. I also worry about having a local food economy that can actually support a local population. That’s why I make an effort to invest in local food production, to purchase from my farmer’s market, and to eat things in season. This week I read an article in Scientific American about how sick food production is making animals, plants and people sick.
The trouble starts with crops. Orange groves in Florida and California are falling to fast-moving blights with no known cure. Cavendish-variety bananas the global standard, each genetically identical to the next will almost certainly be wiped out by emerging infectious disease, just as the Cavendish’s predecessor was six decades ago. And as entomologists Diana Cox-Foster and Dennis vanEngelsdorp describe in “Saving the Honey bee,” on page 40, a mysterious affliction has ravaged honeybee colonies around the U.S., jeopardizing an agricultural system that is utterly dependent on farmed, traveling hives to pollinate vast swaths of monoculture. The ailment may be in part the result of the stresses imposed on hives by this uniquely modern system.
Yikes. I’ve gotten lazy about food consumption this winter, but I’m recommiting myself to a healthier, more local diet.