— Molly Golski
We have all heard the famous slogan “do you know your farmer?” (which was actually made popular by large agribusinesses) but an equally important question to be asking yourself, is do you know your food? Let’s do a little experiment. I want you to think about everything you have eaten in the past 3 days. How many of these foods were unprocessed/whole foods? Can you name where at least 3 items came from? When you are eating something after reading this post, think about where it came from, how it was made, by whom it was cultivated. These are all things we tend to ignore when eating our meals, but in reality, eating is an agriculture act in itself.
When consuming a certain food, you are dictating how much and at what cost that item is produced. If you consume a food that has exploited people, animals and the environment, it shows the industrial producer of this food that people will still purchase the food even though it was produced in terrible conditions. To them the cost does not matter as long as the profit is higher. We as a western society have become passive consumers of these foods. We do not think about our food like we should. As uncomfortable as it is to think about, it is something so important to address. When you are biting into that delicious strawberry, do you think about the implications it has for the under paid workers that picked it? Do you consider the cost of travel? Do you consider the implications this fruit, which is packed with chemicals, may have on your health? When you eat that crunchy and sweet granola do you consider the cost of packaging? Do you think about how this granola has been processed and its repercussions on the quality and nutritional value? When you bite into that juicy burger do you consider the quality of life that cow received? Do you think about how the living conditions of this cow have negatively affected the environment? I know that I personally did not think about these things when consuming food. However, after I became more aware of the practices surrounding the food industry, I realized how important knowing your food really is.
Eating a meal should be a guilt-free act. The best way to achieve this is to research where your food is coming from. By buying locally from reputable farms, you can easily explore their practices and standards in regards to their products. You can know that your strawberry is free of chemicals and pesticides and that the money you are spending on it is going directly to those who harvested it. You can eat your granola guilt free knowing it was handmade by local people concerned with your health. You can eat that delicious burger without having to worry about whether or not the cow was maltreated and abused. It is important to not blindly buy whatever food’s packaging looks the prettiest, but to instead really think about the implications of what you are supporting and consuming so you can have a truly guilt free meal!