Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sustainable Food Debate

I just read this article against the current trend in "sustainable" food.


What the NPR host says is that, if we look at developing countries (ones that Americans and Europeans see as less high tech in their agriculture) such as Africa, they subsist off of this "slow food" movement. The irony is that they are a developing country because of and leading to this slow food way of getting and distributing their vittles.

I do agree with Paarlberg that Westerners must clear their minds of this idealized view of the "slow food" and "sustainable" movement. We should not give up on it, but rather not let ourselves get sucked into organic messages that overplay the moral values of their goods. Oftentimes, organic or local really is not better for you or the environment. I could sell you a lemon from my tree at home for three times as much just because it's local, but that may not defeat the fact that it's grown in a suburb or may have grown by use of synthesized fertilizers. My opinion is that the organic and slow labels are often overplayed by many companies and groups to try and woo consumers into forking over more money for their goods.

Addressing the world hunger case, I do agree that we must "de-romanticize our view of preindustrial food and farming. And that means learning to appreciate the modern, science-intensive, and highly capitalized agricultural system we’ve developed in the West" . The industrialized agricultural system is created to most efficiently feed a massive population of humans. Let us consider what the goal and what the methods are. The goal of "solving world hunger" cannot truthfully be met by a "slow" and "local" method because this does not output enough to feed a large number of people. World hunger means a lot of mouths to feed. Slow and local only feeds a small rich group right now in the West. I will admit that industrial agriculture of the modern day is not glamorous or humane at all. I personally detest the way they coop up the animals and the way they kill them; yet, if people want to solve the proposed "world hunger problem," I can't see a more efficient way to do so than this way. 

It's just unfortunate that solving world hunger and maintaining humane practices for all living creatures can't go hand in hand...

What do you all think about this?

1 comment:

  1. In my own backyard, I choose to buy food that isn't genetically modified, or from animals fed in feed lots while standing in muck. I'm very blessed to buy organically grown food right down the road, for not much more than the crop dusted vegetables in the grocery store. I think that in America, people have forgotten how to cook REAL food. Somehow, we've become a society too busy to cook a meal, like grandma used to. We rely on frozen entrees and fast food lanes. Some people have to spend $2 for a fast food fat and sodium laden burger meal, because real food does cost more. Humane practices for what I eat is important to me. I am a carnivore. I'm not rich, but I'll eat vegetarian a few times a week, so I can buy quality grass fed meat from certified ranches. Are people being deceived by organic labels? Yes. I have learned how to read labels and trust my sources. I cannot eat fast food anymore. My palate has changed. Ending world hunger... a whole 'nother subject. A frightening subject. I thank God everyday for where I live. I am blessed to even be able to blog about food!