Monday, February 8, 2010

Fueling Un-Food

 Michael Pollan, the food writer, was a guest on Democracy Now this morning. He commented that U.S. agribusiness is well on its way toward completing its conversion of our food supply from farm produce to “food-like” substances manufactured with heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Evidently, oil and gas play important roles in all the complex processing that goes on in giant centers around the country. Maybe worse: oil and gas could be the very stuff Americans are buying to eat.

 I won’t get into the ugly particulars of what Pollan had to say about what agribusiness has done to small farmers and school food programs, because his observation is ringing other bells with me.  The pressure that’s coming from the incorporated un-food industry to keep Americans eating  more while eating worse, seems to be related to the pressure that’s coming from the incorporated energy industry to drill for gas in our back yards. We’re being told  we need more energy now and we need fossil fuel to keep America humming. We need it for...Monsanto? Cargill?  To step up the manufacture of un-food ? To distribute un-food across the country,  push more farmers out of business, increase the work load for the already bloated and warped health care industry  (diet-related diseases accounting for a great proportion of the nation’s ill-health), all the while making the globe hotter?  Not from my back yard we don’t.

Pollan said the industry is finally getting some backtalk now, from organic growers and co-ops and from people who actually prefer real food.  There’s hope that the unnatural chain agribusiness has constructed can be severed before it chokes us all. Those of us living here above the Marcellus Shale can help that effort and ourselves by eating right and supporting our remaining farmers. But we can also do our part by refusing to contribute the energy that lies under our feet to the ignoble cause of agribusiness.

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