I used to think of the things that I eat as going away when I eat them. Certainly that is so in the small picture, but when I look at the big picture, the world overall, whatever people eat we actually make more of. What we eat creates the world.
When I eat fresh, local eggs from pastured chickens or meat from other pastured animals it encourages my farmer to set aside land for animals to roam in. They eat bugs, weeds and slugs and make rich fertilizer (poop) to rebuild the top soil.
When I eat local, organic produce more farmland in my community is preserved, small farmers get paid for tending the land. Small farmers are more likely to plant a large variety of crops, continue heirloom varieties and leave natural tracts of land for bees, butterflies, … Even more so when I shop from biodynamic or permaculture farmers at a farmers market.
When I buy fair trade, sustainably grown chocolate, coconut and other exotic foods it protects the rainforest, provides good jobs and stimulates sustainable economy across the world.
My 12 year old friend, Toby, reminded me recently how important it is to focus on the positive changes we can and are making. So true, so true. But I also want you to consider the other kinds of choices we might make.
When we buy commercial meat and dairy products we continue huge factory farms that are cruel to animals and pollute the surrounding soil and streams. Or we encourage the deforestation of fragile tropical forests to make way for destructive cattle grazing.
When we eat annual crops like rice, corn, beans, wheat that are grown in big, commercial, monocrops (even organic ones) we encourage the plowing of huge tracts of land. This requires massive deforestation and habitat destruction (consider all the homeless birds and animals going extinct) and after a few seasons depletes the top soil of minerals and nutrients creating deserts all over the world. Now days it often takes two calories of fossil fuels for fertilizer, water, machinery and transportation to create one calorie of these types of food.
They say, “You are what you eat.” Well, In this time of human dominion over the earth it seems the whole world is what you eat.
Every bite you eat, every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you are creating. What world is that going to be?
Photos from my local egg and goat farmers Brookside Farm and Garden
and istock.com/ollirg via Mother Earth News: Plan B Updates: The Great Food Crisis of 2011