This post was featured by BlogHer on July 17, 2012.
Something’s awry in the 630s and the 338.19s.
Recently I ventured into the 630s and 338.19s at the downtown branch of the Wichita Public Library. Those are the Dewey Decimal call numbers for farming and production.
I was looking for a book that could help me address the concerns of yet another well-intentioned friend who watched Food, Inc. and hit the panic button.
Food giant Cargill headquarters its meat operations in Wichita. Kansas ranks seventh among states for total agricultural production. You’d think this prairie town would be dyed-in-the-wool pro-ag. Not so fast.
Instead of books about the dignity of farming and food production, here’s a sample of the titles I found:
The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply–And What You Can Do About It
Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
Stuffed & Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil
Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization
Did you eat today? How about yesterday? Last year? Do you plan to eat again?
Did you have trouble finding food? Or did you have your choice of food at your choice of markets? Is someone preventing you from growing your own food if you want to do so?
I know your food didn’t kill you or you wouldn’t be reading this.
I have a child. To borrow a line of reasoning from Katie Pinke, because I have a child, do you think I abuse him? How about my dog? Do you assume I abuse her?
If you have children or animals, should I assume you abuse them? How about livestock or poultry? If a farmer raises livestock or poultry, is it a foregone conclusion that those animals are abused?
Did you find insects in your produce? How about fungi on your fruit? Was your corn sweet and robust or wimpy and weedy? Was it dripping with chemicals?
Bad things happen in agriculture. There are accidents and outbreaks. There are crimes. Sometimes animals are abused. Sometimes people die.
There’s always room for improvement.
Bad things happen at local swimming pools. And at city halls. In factories. Police departments. Schools. Daycares. Animal shelters. Fortune 500 companies. Convenience stores.
There are accidents and outbreaks. There are crimes. Sometimes animals are abused. Sometimes people die. There’s always room for improvement.
Bad things happen, but they’re not the norm.
They’re certainly not the intention of the majority of people who work in these sectors. Crimes should be prosecuted. Innocent people shouldn’t be attacked.
Research, funding, and lifetimes of labor by dedicated farmers go into improving farming and our food. The result is one of the safest, most plentiful, least expensive food supplies in history. We have choices of what to eat.
Surely there must be something right about farming and food.
Much of what’s wrong appears to be grown and harvested on a bookshelf of misinformation. And don’t even get me started about what’s on the internet.
Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow. Psalm 25:4 NLT
The Farmer’s Song by Murray McLaughlin. Thanks for the meal, here’s a song that is real from a kid from the city to you.
I snapped the food photos in this post at The Fresh Market in Wichita, where conventional, organic, homegrown, and imported foods are sold from the same shelves.