Growing and Buying Healthy Food
There is a very real difference between the food you grow and the food you purchase, especially in terms of purity, nutrition, and ecology. Arguably, the most healthy food is that which you grow yourself. You know what
Beanswent into your soil, how you tended your plants, and that you harvested at the right time; when your vegetables were ripe and at their peak nutrition.
We have in mind greenhouses too as a place dedicated to cultivation of organic vegetables for the hole year.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, are foods you purchase at a typical grocery store. You can find nice-looking produce and prepare it in a delicious manner, but you cannot know with certainty how it compares in purity and nutrition to home-grown. Nor can you ascertain the amount of energy or environmental degradation embodied in that single vegetable.
With each step away from your organic garden, you lose one more degree of certainty in the healthy fullness of your food.
On a scale with homegrown organic foods on one end and standard supermarket fare on the other, there is a wide range of healthy food, good food, OK food, and suspect food.
If you cannot grow all of your own food, you can still buy healthy food. Direct your purchasing power to those foods that give you the greatest degree of certainty, locally grown organic foods.
Growing you own food or buying from a Certified Organic farm is your guarantee of purity. In your organic garden, you know exactly what went into the soil and water that sustained your plants.
Certified Organic farming must follow specific sustainable practices to ensure that they can sell you the most healthy food. In your garden, organic methods are voluntary, on a Certified Organic farm, methodology is mandatory and must be continually measured and maintained.
Since 1947, the nutritional value of farm-raised tomatoes has dropped by 43 percent. This largely due to breeding for mechanical processing and for the rigors of long-range transportation; and the practice of picking the fruits green (long before they are nutritionally mature) so they keep longer. The results are those hard, bland, grayish tomatoes we all see in the stores. Now consider the fresh, flavorful, ripe, and nutritious tomato you picked in your garden, or bought at the local farm stand. There is no comparison.
With organic foods, there is a refreshing ethical honesty. You can easily discover who are the producers of your food, where they farm, and the methods they use. Beyond the understandable pride of many organic farmers, the entire organic movement is best served by honesty, transparency, and sharing. And because being Certified Organic ensures transparency, the knowledge that is shared become power for you as a consumer.
Organic gardening and farming is an ecologically sound pursuit. To grow organically is to be a responsible steward of the land. Even more than maintaining farm resources, an organic farmer continually rebuilds the soil and keeps groundwater clean and replenished. We know that if we degrade our earth, we have no other place to live and grow.
The food indistry
The bottom line for agribusiness is simply that, the bottom line. It is the business of agriculture and the main motive is making money. Healthy food, nutrition, and the environmental all are secondary concerns. While made up of people, “the multinational food conglomerates are not people – they have no heart, no soul, nor citizenship in any particular country”. Food is shopped as a commodity, which they will buy or produce – regardless of country of origin – at the cheapest costs and to ensure the maximum profit. Unfortunately this cheap food comes at a tremendous cost, for you as a consumer and a taxpayer, and to the environment.
One of the chief criticisms of organic foods is its relatively high cost. Even though some organically grown food is lower or equal in price, it is true that organic foods are generally more expensive. The reason is simple: this is the true cost of food production. Organic farmers do not receive the subsidies and price support that agribusiness enjoys, so the real price of farming, land stewardship, and the selling of healthy food is reflected at the cash register.
Agribusiness operates in an economic system where they don’t have to figure in the costs of environmental degradation, energy, transportation, loss of family farms, water pollution, soil erosion, and public health. These costs are off-the-books and are borne by the taxpayers as a whole. These hidden costs are not an accident. They are the results of a nineteenth century business model combined with twenty century politics to create a system in which as much cost is offloaded to the public at large, and hidden from accounting to create the illusion of cheap food. We do pay as much for industrial food as we do for organic foods, but indirectly and in a more disguised manner.