That’s it. We’re done. We are now earnestly striving to eradicate corporate involvement from the making/growing of our food. Yes, we just watched Food, Inc. and I’m afraid there’s no going back.
The anti-corporate, slow food movement is certainly not new. It’s not even new to me. I read Pollan’s book (Omnivore’s Dilemma) several years ago and my family rolled their eyes at me for months afterward as I droned on about the evils of corn in our industrial food supply. I’ve been hovering around the edges of this kind of change for quite awhile. We did, after all, spend nearly a decade in Seattle…I’ve just been choosing almost-blissful semi-ignorance. I’m kind of lazy sometimes.
So, no, I wasn’t shocked about the conditions in the slaughterhouses or even that both workers and animals are mistreated. That’s been true for years. What I was not prepared for was the intention and malice with which the corporations behind all of our food production carry on their business. Nor the legions of attorneys whom they employ to prevent the average supermarket shopper from finding out what’s in their food should they think to ask. And don’t you dare utter a criticism of the industry because it is the giant corporations who are protected – not the consumer. (I think you might be surprised about the food libel laws, also called veggie libel laws, which exist in this country. And here’s a pretty good summary of the movie which also mentions one of these veggie libel laws in Colorado that you won’t believe.)
I try to buy organic. We make it to the farmer’s market on occasion. I’ve looked for a local CSA to support. I might have been able to continue in my half-aware state, around the edges of this movement, just doing little bits here and there to make myself feel better…except for one woman in this movie. Barbara Kowalcyk.
Barbara’s story forced me to ask myself, “Well, if no one else is protecting my family, my children…isn’t it ultimately my job?” This isn’t just about teaching my children to be good stewards of the earth and its resources. This isn’t just about teaching my sons to take good care of their bodies and be conscious of their health. Barbara’s story is about the very basic protection of her son’s life. It was heart wrenching to consider. And infuriating to learn of the inaction of those responsible and the battle she still fights today in the world of food safety advocacy, now referred to as Kevin’s Law.
And it’s not about fear. It’s about control. About taking responsibility for how we impact our planet, our communities, our families and our own bodies with the food we choose three times a day. Every day.
So what does this really mean? No corporate suits in the food means more overalls, right? No more grocery stores? What about restaurants? Which ones? Meals at other people’s houses? I’ve been asking myself these things over the past few days. I know enough to try to take as many baby steps as possible with a change like this – to not get too crazy too fast.
For starters, I didn’t immediately throw out every article of food in the house. We’re going to finish what we already have (which isn’t really a ton.) I got online and started sourcing grass-fed protein choices from local ranches and farms. Luckily, a few of them come to a farmer’s market just north of us every Saturday. I signed up for home delivery of organic produce – all seasonal and local and organic. I’m getting a bread machine from my mother-in-law at Thanksgiving to help in that department. Today we purchased a yogurt maker and our first batch will be ready to try in the morning. (My son loves yogurt and would eat his weight in it daily if I let him. I seem to be constantly searching for an organic brand with minimal sugar and preservatives…maybe this will solve it.) We went to another farmer’s market this morning to check out the availability of things like cheese and almond butter and tortillas and other things we tend to always have around. I’ve started a list of things I’ll still need to find or figure out how to make…but it’s a much smaller list than I expected. And I will NOT be giving up my Diet Coke. Not yet anyway. I mean, really, a girl can only take so much at once.
For now I’m aware of this: it will be more work in the beginning to be more conscientious. We will get less food for more money this way (but really, we could all stand to eat a little less around here!) We will be more grateful for the food we do eat and, I hope, a greater respect for the sacrifice of the animals who nourish us will develop. It will be easier to eat healthier under this new philosophy as no one in overalls is busy making processed food-like products full of corn syrup, right?
I hope to be as free of corporate food as possible by the first of the year. And I welcome all suggestions and ideas from those of you out there who are ahead of us on this journey. Stay tuned for more.
And if you haven’t seen the movie, you should. You really should. Like tomorrow would be soon enough.
Resources I’m using or planning to try:
Greenling: Austin-based home delivery service promoting local, organic farms
Edelen Farm: grass-fed beef and chicken/eggs
L&M Ranch: grass-fed beef