Eat What You Want - Hows That Working Out?

May 13, 2011

I once had a discussion with someone who was firmly in the Big Ag camp that is the premise for today's blog.It was his  job to soothe the rough edges of the  Monsanto beast, making room for each farmer to get on board and give up their autonomy for a ride on the chemical train. To sum up our relationship, he was a snake and I knew it. He knew that I knew, but we both pretended to share a table; you know, for the kids. 

Anyways, we were talking about a book that I had been working on, about family farming. Once I finished with my POV, he proceeded to tell me that I had it all wrong. Big Ag was not only the wave of the future, it was preordained. The world was going to starve to death if we did more than offer lip service to the organic side of agriculture. There was nothing valid in the idea of slow food or local food. Organics were for the elite and food would be just too darn expensive for everyone if it was ever more than a fad. According to him, the world needed GMO. It needed every bit of the chemicals and modified seeds, the monocrop farming and farm subsidies that could be invented. After all, he said with a touch of an  indignant tone, 

"If I want to eat a pineapple in the middle of winter, I have the right to do it". 

Well, there it was. He had the right to eat what he wanted, when he wanted, and to hell with anything other than that simple fact. We had a long, prickly conversation and parted ways. To be honest, the whole conversation was doomed from the start. We were on the far side of opposite sides. 

The question we have to ask is: Do we have the right to eat what we want? What happens if we just indulge in whatever we feel like eating, simply because we have the *right* to do so? Where are the rights of people who can not afford to just eat whatever they want? What rights do the people who try to buy local foods have, when their local farmers are being bullied out of town, by naysayers and antagonistic, slick men with agendas? I know what happens when we all are on this self indulgence kick. Our current food landscape is what happens. We have trucks overflowing with corn, driving past hungry people, on their way to the ethanol plant. How is it, that it is one company's job to create a way to feed the entire world? How is that even LEGAL? 

America seems to be the country that has to jump in and help with world crisis, as long as there is something in it for us. I just wonder when it was that our desire for convenient food diversity, started to outweight the fact that there is a bigger problem going than having pineapple in Nebraska in January. 

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