The Three R’s and Food

Wow! There is so much to worry about regarding food and water these days, and it’s not just the cost. Of course biofuel demand is driving up prices at the same time this year’s weird weather makes growing food an especially tricky sort of roulette of planting dates, exposure to heat and wind, water availability, shifting pests, etc. and the global commodity market sells and ships food to the highest bidder, however far away and overstuffed they might be. Restaurants and processed foods folks are passing along those costs to you, but perhaps not sharing all the (honest) information about what’s in there in terms of calories and other negatives vs nutrition value. I saw donation bags at Safeway, where you can buy a bag of groceries for a family for $10, and all of it was highly processed and unhealthy stuff that read like a list of commodity foods delivered to Native American reservations (that produce what is called “commod bod”). No wonder America is over-weight and people come to believe only wealthy elitists can afford healthy eating. Pretty soon they’ll be giving poor people “soylent green“. Meat has been making an oversized carbon footprint for its nutrition value, while abusive big ag has been trying to keep nosy photographers out of their unhealthy and cruel practices via the “ag gag” bill. Mining, drilling, and fracking as well as pesticide-laden and concentrated-livestock farming are sending nasty chemicals into our water supplies, fish populations are disappearing, hydro-dams obstruct living waterways from going about their business and all this even as both floods and droughts wreak havoc. Coca Cola and Nestle are buying up sources for bottled water as if they were the kind of people who should be in charge of something as pure and vital as water. So i end up carrying my jug over to the market to fill it up, as if i were going to the village well. I’m going to have to learn to carry it on my head, just to see if anybody gets my point. Never mind the effects of disastrous water pollution, like the monster islands of plastic garbage, the BP mess du jour or Fukushima nuclear meltdown, or hydro-fracking that turns your water flammable… Let’s not even go into the labor abuses involved, making bad karma another invisible ingredient It’s overwhelming. Well that’s it, then, we’re going to have to give up eating and drinking. Or quit reading the news. Certainly you mustn’t read the news while eating or trying to drink water.

It does seem like some soulless, short-sighted greed-heads conspire to make money by wrecking our food and water, and that we are helpless to stop them. How did they become so monstrous? What jolt of electricity turned these corporate and civic decision-makers into myopic Godzillas? I suspect their lopsided intellectual development – where the part of their brain that forms justifications for doing bad stuff  grossly outweighs the social conscience and long-term vision side. The greedy, fear-mongering, power-crazy lizard-brains have run amok.

They have completely lost sight of the Three Rs – respect, reciprocity, and responsibility. Any gardener lives these daily. The gardener and garden take care of each other mutually, make their own considerable contributions, thank each other with gifts. Ag-industry seems to ignore these principles that sustain life on this planet.

But wait! The garden is popping up green peas, and seed catalogs are arriving, and almond trees are in bloom, and i just got seeds for a new variety of squash and a super hot chili pepper, and, and, and… Ridiculous optimism springs up wherever we can work hand in hand with the earth, take care and nurture, do something for our own well-being and the world around us. Take responsibility, reciprocate, and feel down deep respect and gratitude. Yes, you grow your own optimism. And yes, growing your own food is probably the most radical, substantial individual thing you can do to push back the food-related nasty, crazy business out there. Now go plant something!

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