Are any of you as hooked on YES! magazine as I am? I sometimes feel funny reading things that just reinforce my beliefs and behaviors, but I looooooove it’s emphasis on possibility and opportunity— it’s hard in these times to keep a positive vibe on discussions affecting the environment and our shared global future. Especially when we’re witnessing natural disasters like the flooding in Pakistan, facing bizarre weather scenarios, and on the verge of new famine in developing nations around the world as food security and sovereignty are vulnerable every day. Woof, friends. Throw in some uncomfortable jokes about the apocalypse in 2012 and ka-blewey, we could use some light up in here!
This month features Anna Lappé writing about identifying the pillars of good food in the age of greenwashing. Have you been to your grocery store lately and seen the faux-wood signage? The green labels proclaiming things are “natural?” These are marketing ploys to help sell specific products as premium, without necessarily engaging in responsible practices. Sometimes at the grocery I think to myself “do people fall for this?” then realize I am just as gullible, too, with the pretty brown wrappers in my basket and realize I have to get back to work on making sure my choices are the best choices.
Lappé asserts there are three “pillars” to the food revolution that we can easily think about in order to evaluate our choices.
1- ECOLOGY – Focusing on the relationship of living things, natural systems, and resource allocation, an ecological-focus reminds us that each choice we make has a consequence to the natural world. Food choices that are truly sustainable allow nature to work as it is designed, instead of squeezing every last ounce of life out of seed, soil, and water resources.
2- COMMUNITY – Food production is essentially a community endeavor when you really think about it. Communities rely on the common land to produce enough sustenance to keep the population alive. As our food system has been corporatized, we have increased the distance between seed and stomach, increasing the number of factors influencing our food security, and increasing the likelihood that something may go wrong. Oh yeah, like the OVER HALF A BILLION EGGS RECALLED THIS WEEK. Woof again, y’all.
3- FAIRNESS – this one is about making sure everyone at all levels of the food system, producers, workers, etc. get treated fairly and that all folks have access to healthy food. Currently there are urban food deserts where folks don’t have access to fresh food outside of convenience stores. And while progress is being made, like the example of NYC’s fresh food carts last summer, many still lack adequate access.
What would you add to these three?
It’s easy to get started using these criteria when evaluating food purchases. Occasionally you may need to do a little research and you won’t get it right every time (I still don’t, either), but it’s important to keep moving toward making the right choices for yourself, your health, our communities, and our earth. Knowing you’re making good choices tastes really good. Promise.
Sunshine and compost, friends!