I found myself the other day reading an article in Acres USA magazine titled Ecological Eating: Six Key Messages for Consumer Outreach by Joel Salatin (someone you should google now if you don’t already know the name). The heart of the message points out that consumers, just as much as farmers, need to shoulder the weight of responsibility for our current broken food system. Here’s a short excerpt (used with permission from Acres USA):
“Hot pockets exist because people buy them. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) exist because people buy them. I’m tired of urban folks looking onto a camera and saying they can’t find an alternative to the supermarket. I’m tired of fast-food outfits saying they can’t find enough ecological food. I recently fielded a set of questions from a representative for four nearby universities who wanted to buy non-industrial food but said it could never be produced in enough quantity. Suddenly these big buyers have a caveat from their student agitators: “We can’t find enough.”
I have news for these folks: “If you really mean business, we’ll produce it. But you won’t come out of your fraternity to talks to us.” Thousands of ecological farmers are able and willing to double their productions. Thousands more are waiting in the wings to join us. The weak link is market desire. For ecological farming to thrive, we need a culture shifts to ecological eating.”
Salatin continues the article by pointing out six tenants that can help consumers be better ecological eaters: Safe, Suitable, Seasonal, Simple, Symbiotic and Seamless.
As I read the article I munched on a salad with cucumbers and tomatoes…in February. Oops.
But I felt redeemed slightly when I continue to read “I’ve decided that the most identifying characteristic of an ecological eater is leftovers.” Well, at least I’m munching on leftover salad form the night before. In fact, I purposely make large quantities on Sunday’s so that my husband and I have leftovers for lunch the first couple of days of the work week.
The point is, ecological eating = conscious eating. Yes, it takes more time to source my food direct from a farmer. Yes, it costs more to buy organic. But it’s a conscious choice my family makes. We’ve don’t dine out, go to move theaters, drive fancy cars or take extravagant vacations. But we do eat well and cherish our health and long-term ability to source ecological food. One block at a time we’ve built our healthy and more eco-friendly eating habits. It surely wasn’t an overnight thing! So I encourage everyone to take one more step forward on your own path to sustainable eating and perhaps pick up the February issue of Acres USA to read the full story for Joel Salatin. Happy eating.