We live in a complicated world. In providing for our most basic need—food—we are faced each day with a tangled web of decisions, deceptions, and desires. And we usually succumb to habit and simplicity. It’s a hundred times easier to grab the cheap burger from the drive-through than to think about where that food comes from. It’s simple to follow our cravings.
But the food economy we have built is founded on lies and careful concealment. Unless we change something soon, the swollen food industry will begin to collapse around us. It is an unsustainable system, and we are both the perpetrators and the victims of its success.
In an ideal world, we would live in small subsistence communities, aware of the capacity of the land we farmed and responsible for maintaining its health and productivity. Of course, this is impossible today—our population is simply too large.
However, there are ways for us to minimize our impact on the world. We have never been blessed with more choices in what we eat. So how do we know which choices are the right ones?
I am striving for conscientiousness, not perfection. I want to understand everything we overlook each day when we eat. Through this blog, I hope to create a set of guidelines for thinking about food in terms of world health. And I will attempt to change my lifestyle accordingly.
So, what do I include in “world health?” It’s a broad term, meant to encapsulate all the complexities that go into food production. But I’ll break it down into several categories that I will address:
- Personal health: avoiding pesticides, eating nutritious meals, and making sure I get the necessary vitamins and minerals as I change my dietary choices
- Human rights: supporting fair trade and farmers’ markets, and avoiding companies that exploit workers at home and abroad
- Animal rights: factory-farmed animals, vegetarianism, veganism, and the lies about “free-range”
- Environmentalism: cutting down on waste, composting/recycling, and minimizing fuel used in production and transportation
- Farm health: working against the dangers of monoculture by supporting seed saving, buying artisan crops, and avoiding GMOs