Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hooked On The Wrong End Of The Food Chain

Good health starts here...
...and ends here.

Somewhere in our pursuit of progress and of the good life we have lost our connection with the earth that sustains us. Even in our own agriculturally productive Shenandoah Valley, once known as the "bread basket of the Confederacy", we have become almost totally food dependent. If it weren't for an abundance of highly processed and packaged food products trucked here from all over the world, most of us would starve.

According to one source, in the years between 1950 and 1970 the number of farms in the US, and the number of people who relied on them for their living, dropped by half before the trend began leveling off. And thanks to more mechanization and specialized factory farming, the size of farms has doubled.

At the same time, due to the relatively low cost of all of our food "imports", fewer and fewer non-farm families bother with having backyard chickens or otherwise raising and preserving any of their own food. While this may make us feel more independent at one level, we have actually become ever more dependent on other people and systems than ever for our survival.

Meanwhile, we have become a nation that now spends more time and money eating out than we do in the grocery aisle or the farmer's market--and in preparing our own meals at home. And unfortunately, much of our eating out is at fast food outlets, resulting in our becoming increasingly addicted to a diet high in calories, fat, salt and sugar. And as we all know, that puts us at greater risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and other serious threats to our health. 

We would all be better off doing more hoeing and less mowing, becoming producers of more of what we need to live on and less reliant on being ever more passive consumers.

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