Bob Ewing — Food is our common ground, if for no other reason than we all must eat. The alternative to not eating is to die. In North America, the majority of people do eat daily, some much better than others.
The food we consume will vary depending upon personal preferences, ethics and financial ability, for example.
Regardless of our food choices, the one choice that we cannot and usually do not want to make is to not eat. It is either eat or suffer and then die. We weaken and become ill.
In North America, people, frequently, complain life moves too fast and when someone is asked how are you, the answer is often, I am busy. This perception of a fast-paced reality is well reflected in our food choices.
Fast or convenient foods are widely purchased and consumed. Drive-thrus, delivery, microwaves and frozen entrées have replaced cooking; which, along with growing our own food, is a basic survival skill.
How many people would suffer greatly, if they could no longer pick up or order in their supper or no longer pop something into the microwave and wait a few minutes for dinner?
How many days food do you have in your pantry or storage cupboards? When was the last time that you preserved any food?
How long would the food on hand last if the transportation system broke down and the shelves in the grocery store were empty? Or when you called out for a food delivery no one answered?
North Americans have let the food supply system slip out of their grasp and the very item, we need to live, is in the hands of companies that are in many cases far away.
Food is trucked, flown and put in box cars so that it can be shipped to its destination. How fresh can it be if it has been sitting in a container for 2 weeks before it reaches your plate?
Do you know how far your last meal traveled before it became a meal?
Tomatoes, for example are being bred for their ability to be transported, rather than their flavour. So we get tomatoes that can travel but are tasteless.
Even the fast food that we so dearly love relies on transport to deliver the bulk of what it serves.
Transportation requires the use of fossil fuels to power the truck that carry much of our food and the airplanes that fly in the foods from distant ports. The price of gasoline is rising in many places as is the price of food, they are connected.
The agriculture industry is one of the biggest users of fossil fuels, not just for transportation, but for the production of pesticides and fertilizers as well.
The conditions the animals we eat daily, are kept in, are all too often appalling to say the least; this means that before they are killed they suffer. This reality is the reason that many people become vegetarians.
There are a number of food based movements that are working to address food quality, local economies and the sheer pleasure of preparing and sharing a meal with friends and family. The organic movement has become big business, the push to local food ahs drawn nation attention and the slow food movement has spread across nations.
If we have any real interest in improving our quality of life, our environment and address issues such as poverty and hunger then we only need to look inside our cupboards and refrigerators and begin to change with what we put in them on shopping day.
Food is our common ground; we all eat so let’s give our next meal some thought.
In my last article I wrote the following: “Choice is one of our fundamental freedoms and when it is eroded in one of our most basic needs, food, the nature of society itself can shift.”
Another way to view this is, if we want society to change then simply change what you eat.