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I have to say it, just to keep the record straight, I am proud to be an American. I’m happy to be free and part of the melting pot that is our society. But. But I’m also ashamed with how consumerism has taken over. I think about how much money is spent on the athletic industry, the movie industry and advertising and and and. We’re a nation obsessed with stuff, most of it crap. Really. And I just finished watching “Food, Inc.” Oh man. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do. It is sad and heartbreaking, but it’s also eyeopening and I think it’s important to be aware of these very relevant issues.
Since moving up north, I’ve gotten more exposed to the idea of food justice and really being aware of what I eat. I have a friend who is vegan and she’s exposed me to a lot of what’s wrong in our food industry. After watching FI, I am more convicted to go vegetarian, if not full vegan. It is disgusting to me that corporations are focusing on efficiency and making the most at the lowest cost when quality, ethics and health are falling by the wayside. What is happening to our society when we are more focused on the bottom line than the results of our actions? When did ignoring the basic nutritional needs of an individual get lost in “need” to make billions? What is happening to our “third-world” citizens when they have to choose between spending hundreds on healthy living or spending hundreds on medication caused by their lack of healthy living? There is something wrong with the system. And these are just the kinds of issues that I’m so passionate about changing. It seems so overwhelming, there are so many things that need to change. And I have to remind myself that there’s only so much I can do as an individual. But I can help educate others about these issues, get them fired up about them too and add to the number those who are fighting against a system that is failing.
Below are a few quotes from FI that I thought were really meaningful. I hope they inspire you as they have inspired me.
“The irony is that the average consumer does not feel very powerful. They think that they are the recipients of whatever industry has put out there for them to consume. Trust me, it’s the exact opposite. When we run an item passed the supermarket scanner, we’re voting for local or not, organic or not.” – Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm
“To eat well in this country costs more than to eat badly. It will take more money and some people simply don’t have it. And that’s one of the reasons we need changes at the policy level, so that the carrots are a better deal than the chips.” – Michael Pollan, Author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma
“People think, ‘These companies are so big and so powerful, how are we ever gonna change things?’ But look at the tobacco industry. It had huge control over public policy and that control was broken. The battle against tobacco is a perfect model of how an industry’s irresponsible behavior can be changed.” – Eric Schlosser, Author of Fast Food Nation
“You have to understand that we farmers, we’re gonna deliver to the marketplace what the marketplace demands. If you wanna buy $2 milk, you’re gonna get a feedlot in your backyard. It’s that simple. People have gotta start demanding good, wholesome food of us. And we’ll deliver. I promise you. We’re very ingenious people. We’ll deliver.” – Troy Roush, Vice President of American Corn Growers Association