Thursday, November 13, 2014

Exploration 6: Liz Williams

his documentary was very interesting and surprisingly gave me great insight on the food system and the kinds of food that I choose to eat. Living in a society that is obsessed with efficient results, we never stop to think about if the food we eat is good for us, or even healthy for us for that matter. I honestly have never stopped to think about this myself until Professor John Ikerd put it into perspective by saying, “Americans fear one thing, inconvenience.” This documentary did a good job of revealing not just how far Americans will g o for a quick bite, but also the demanding pressure that farmers feel to try and reverse this need for efficiency.

“Fresh” has shown that Americans do not care about where our food comes from or how it’s made; if it is ready to eat in five minutes we do not hesitate or ask any questions. Professor John Ikerd, and Agricultural Economist knows that in today’s society, we grow economies of scale and we begin to apply this together, however it does not work on everything. In recent years, our food systems have established what is widely known as monocultures which are species that are grown and raised together without much variation for the purpose of quicker production. Ikerd wants to shift for a different world view because Americans are constantly facing the consequences for buying “more and more cheap stuff”.
George Naylor, a conventional Corn Belt farmer, has tried to eliminate the risk for efficiency. He has realized that the big corporations have industrialized live-stock, raising what is like a small city of approximately 2,400 pigs. The need for a convenient lifestyle is further shown with the help of Joel Salatin, who believes as farming stewards of the earth, they need to respect the design of nature as it is and to help it grow. The corporations and food processing systems promote feeding dead cows to cows because of their lack of care for their well-being as long as it creates a faster production of food. Salatin believes if you “treat an herbivore like an herbivore first, then it will all fall into place”, referring to his farming philosophy. He follows an herbivores natural instinct to herd and move because he believes that is the best thing for them and for his production of food.
One enlightening story of the shifted view of a previous hog farmer who was hung up on efficiency was the one of Russ Kremer. He has since changed to a natural hog farmer whom previously jammed in the leg by one of his hogs and contracted a mutated form of strep due to the antibiotic injections he would inject his pigs with. His conscience caught up with him and terminated his herd. This example really brought out the sense of knowing just how caught up we all are on being blind about the issues of the food systems and monocultures. As we industrialize our food it becomes less nutritious by 40%. We all tend to think of fast food as being cheap, but what was really eye-opening was the fact that in the scheme of things we pay for more than what we get in some way because of the unhealthy toll it eventually takes on our body. We all would like to eat the locally owned and operated food that these farms supply; we just do not have the access to it.
Lastly, I’d like to review Will Allen, an urban farmer in Milwaukee who currently serves as the director for Growing Power who tries to grow agriculture that is sustainable. He tries to support the system in some way by growing agriculture that is sustainable. We all would like a chance to consume the fresh food that these farmers grow and raise for us, its just giving  us a chance that seems to be the hard part.

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