The Top 10 Reasons Why We Need to Overhaul Our Agricultural System

Our current food system has served us well in many ways, but that’s history now.  I’m going to spend the next 10 posts of this blog proving that we NEED real change.

10. Food Safety:  Salmonella Eggs? Not Our Neighbors!

Granted our 30 chickens are complete folly at the moment.  We are two people collecting two dozen eggs a day.  We eat them every day, feed them to the dog, give them to the neighbors, and still have plenty left to take to the food bank.  The chickens are healthy, entertaining, and require little skill or maintenance to keep them that way.

For those folks who grow some of their own food or get it from local sources they have every confidence that their eggs or spinach or beef are safe to consume.  The Locavore movement is gaining ground in big cities across the globe.    Hmmm, I wonder why that is?  Could it be folks are growing weary of hearing about a new food scare every month or so?  Could it be that folks miss that feeling of knowing farmers, and feeling connected to the source of their food?  Could it be that industrial farmers, being totally disconnected to the consumers of their products, don’t feel particularly responsible toward them?  If you had bought your eggs from the farmer’s market you would know exactly who to go back to with your news of her bad eggs, and there would be only a few affected families in the local area, instead of uncountable numbers around the country.

Yes, it means we will have to pay more for our food.  But maybe we could start thinking of that extra charge as an insurance policy, because the chance that her eggs have salmonella is negligible in comparison.  Or maybe we could start sending our hospital bills from food poisoning to the federal government?

Or more realistically, let’s look for better models.  The CSA seems to be one of the best things going at the moment, but it’s only large cities who are currently able to support it.  I realize it doesn’t solve every issue, but when it comes to food safety, our ancestors had way more common sense than we do today.  No amount of regulation will make the current system any safer, we’ve been trying that for a several generations now.  What might work is if you and your food supplier are able to look each other in the eye from time to time.

So, do something, duh!  Like see the documentary Food, Inc. Or read Michael Pollan’s books.  Or plant a garden.  Or support a CSA.  Or just decide, whenever possible and to whatever degree you can manage, that you will no longer participate in the industrial food chain.