Throughout this semester in Food Farms and famine we all have learned so much about food production,whether it be local or conventional, organic or non-organic or large scale to small. I would like to comment on the paradox of choice that we are all presented with, now that we know all of this information about food production. Although it may seem overwhelming, making good food choices doesn’t have to be difficult.
Were food choices easier when we did not know about the consequences of them? Speaking just for myself I believe they were. Schwartz says that “consumers tend to return to what they usually buy”. It would be easy to return to my way of shopping and living and try and forget everything that I learned about conventional food production, its effects on the poor, the environment and our bodies. But now that we have the information we should make the better choice. However, this can be difficult when you are a student with a limited budget, limited time and limited means of transportation. Fortunately there are many things we can do with this information that are easy and inexpensive that have been mentioned by Pollan, Kingslover and even Joe Salatan.
Here are some relatively easy solutions to the question of “where do we go from here?” Obviously the first and easiest choice that you can make is visiting your local farmers market to purchase your groceries. Since the semester is coming to a close, many of you may not know where your local farmers market is. You can use this website to find out where a farmers market is in your town. The farmers market is the best option, as most of the food sold there will be local, seasonal and possibly organic. Since I don’t have a car, I have learned the bus route to get down to the farmers market.
If there is no farmers market in your city or town, the next best option is to buy food that is in season from your grocery store. Buying Seasonal fruits and vegetables is an easy way to reduce the environmental damage of shipping food thousands of miles and it usually tastes better. This blog has a great listing of when food is in season. Barbara Kingsolver remarks that you can purchase food in season and freeze it for the winter.
The next easiest choice is to try and purchase organic –small scale- foods whenever possible. The problem for me in choosing organic is that it is more expensive and sometimes I cannot afford to buy all of my groceries. Here is a website I found top 12 fruits and vegetables you should purchase organically because there conventional methods of production almost always include a lot of pesticide use. The omnivores dilemma talks about the difference between small scale and large scale organic foods. Although large scale organic food is still technically organic-ingredients grown without pesticides- it also allows for some processed ingredients to be added. Although “organic” Twinkies may seem like the environmentally friendly choice, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthier for you.
Food Farms and Famine has provided us with a wealth of knowledge regarding food production and given us the tools to make the right decisions when making choices about what to eat. Now all we have to do is act on that knowledge.