“1 hamburger contains pieces of 1000 different animals
…food for thought when you next order a Big Mac.
I had the great privilege of spending Tuesday evening in a room with Joel Salatin and Rohan Anderson.
Joel is a passionate farmer from Virginia, in the US and is in Australia sharing his philosophy on local food systems and the harsh reality of where our food really comes from – and the cost and consequences this is ultimately having on our health, sustainability and our connectedness with not only our food but with each other.
You may remember Joel and his amazing farm (Polyface Farm) also featured in the movie documentary, “Food Inc.” and he’s just released a book, “Folks, this ain’t normal” which is a compelling read.
Rohan Anderson, a Melburnian, came from the corporate world but had a dream and a goal to become self sufficient; ‘to reconnect to our food systems and to challenge the way our food is currently produced, shipped and consumed globally. The current age of broad-acre food production is currently flawed and has a negative impact on the environment, on our personal health, on local economies and communities, on our spiritual well-being, and on the quality and flavour of the food itself’.
Rohan has just released his book “Whole Larder Love”. In it he shares his experience on Growing Food, Gathering Food, Hunting food and Cooking Food. This is a great book and I highly recommend it. You can also see what Rohan’s up to by signing up to his blog
This week I thought I’d share some of the things from the conversation with Joel and Rohan that really struck a chord with me; some food for thought…
“For the first time in history we have become disconnected with our food source”
We actually have no idea where it comes from … and we can lead our whole lives never being connected. In actual fact we have no idea where our water comes from, our meat, our energy, our clothing or even where our sewerage goes. It is just not something we think about. We just flick a switch, a tap or flush the toilet without ever thinking about the source – hence the disconnect from our bioshpere.
“What’s wrong with waiting and then being excited when the new sweet tomatoes or strawberries come in”
To start re-connecting with our food source we’ve gotta start being patrons of local food. This means understanding seasonality and eating and enjoying eating what’s in season. And then knowing that seasonal, local food has the most nutrients and vitality to sustain us – because it hasn’t been picked prematurely, stored or shipped 1000’s of kilometres where it is then gassed to artificially ripen so that we can then eat a tasteless tomato in the middle of winter.
I don’t know about you but the planting, the nurturing, the watching and the waiting of a tomato seedling… to finally the picking and eating the very first sweet tomato of summer just has to be the most sublime taste sensation you can ask for. You could never go back to eating those tasteless versions from the supermarket!
“We need to get excited about re-discovering our kitchens and cooking our food”
We are spending so much money on having the latest- designed kitchens and the latest gadgets to put in them but we aren’t actually using them.
The most profound and empowering change you can make as an individual to challenge our current food system is to start cooking your own food. We cannot have a culture of food integrity until we restore domestic integrity.
It used to be what was most important in life and most valued in life happened at home. Now it seems home is a pit-stop for everything else out there.
So now is the time to get into the kitchen. To start cooking, baking, preserving, pickling, dehydrating, freezing, and smoking our food. To re- learn these skills from our parents and grandparents (I find Google very helpful) and relaunch the notion of the food larder.
And to share our experiences, our produce and our meals with friends and family – to start conversations with these like minded folk. And ultimately re-evaluate our values and our lives and hopefully restore the integrity of home and family.
Only then, once we start cooking from raw, unprocessed foods that are seasonal, sustainable, local and even home grown will we see a fundamental change in our food system.
“Now is the time to plant some food – have a go and grow – experience and learn the seasonality of our food”
“You can buy a 10kg sack of potatoes for nearly the same price as a bag of potato chips”
Price is the biggest objective I hear!
What some fail to realise is that processed food is very expensive. When buying best quality ingredients (even organic ingredients) and cooking from scratch you can eat like ‘kings’ for no more than eating processed foods.
Potatoes = $2.98kg
Potato Pommies = $9.40kg
Potato Chips = $11.71kg
“17,000 new food items hit our supermarket shelves every year”
… and they are all new configurations of corn/wheat and soy. Have a look at the ingredients on the back of your cereal packs, biscuits and snacks.
“It’s not normal to eat food you can’t pronounce”
“It’s not normal to eat food you can’t cook in your kitchen”
“It not normal to eat food that doesn’t rot”
Try buying a cheeseburger, popping it on your kitchen shelf and see what happens…
….nothing happens – it doesn’t grow mould, it doesn’t rot, it doesn’t get smelly… it stays the same – That’s Not Normal!
“With the rapid progression of modern technology everyone on the globe is within one sixth of a second of each other… but it is still too far apart for a kiss and a hug”
We are living in a culture that worships ‘techno’. But the more techno glitzy society becomes the more they’ll drive to traditional culture. There is a social yearning for connectedness. Fundamentally we are still people – we have a soul, we have deep roots and we need emotional connection. We are coming out of the “Information Economy” into the “Regenerative Economy” – an age where hope, encouragement and empowerment are encouraged… for those who don’t know this is normal.
Our duty is to bring back that ‘normalcy’.
‘Because it’s not a Rehearsal’
©2012 Live Better Naturally Pty Ltd