Jan. 26, 2018

The future of the food, We are what we eat

The global food environment is changing constantly, affected by factors as diverse as the growing world population, developments in genetic engineering (which may turn out to be boon or bane), the widespead increase in meat consumption (which means, among oher things, more precious cropland devoted to the comparatively inefficient raising of animal foder), the continuing use of drugs on animals to prevent the diseases rampant in feedlots and batteries, and the popularity of seed hybridization, which reduces biological diversity. Agriulture is concentrated more and more in the hands of the large corporations, and governments support this trend through water and land subsidies and tax abatements. As a result, we are now able to buy almost any kind of "seasonal" food all year round, and often at very low prices. But ther are hidden costs: the impact of the overuse of fetilizers and pesticides on the quality of our land, water, and air; the despoiling of tropical forests and jungles to produceour meat and winter vegetables: and the damage done to the birds, frogs, and pollinating insects with whom we share our ecosystem. New methods of using and conservating land and water are badly needed.

We can look with some relief to the slow but steady increase in interest in organic farming methods; to the proliferation of Integrated Pest Management; to the increasinng availability of organically grown produce, meat and milk, to the growing number of urban Farmers Markets; and to the sucess of cooks, bakers, and food purveyors who use locally and organically produced ingredients skillfully, thus winning over more and more of the general population. Some guarded optimism might be appropiate. But to ensure that these trends continue, as Marion Nestle, profesor and chair of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, remind us, every one of us ought to take an active interest in the way our food is produced and proesssed. Pay attention to proposed legislative changes affectinng food labeling, food safety, agrriultural production and, the quality of our land, air and water, and let your leggislators knw how you feel about them. The political arena is full of lobbyists representing enterprises that would like to weaken regulation of shift the burden of commpliance from industry to understaffed agencies if we are what we eat, we need to do everything we can to protect our precious food resources.


Joy of Cooking, Irma s. Rombauer