I have been thinking about this idea for a while, but then I heard author Paul Roberts (The End of Food) on KOUW and he said exactly what I’ve been thinking. Is our industrialized food system really progress?
On one hand, we have to be happy that not everyone has to participate in subsistence-agriculture to survive, so that people can follow other pursuits in their lives. But do we really have to go so far that an E. coli outbreak on lettuce produces a nationwide recall? Almost 400 have gotten salmonella from tomatoes and the FDA still doesn’t know where they came from.
Crop rotation probably started in Roman times and has been refined through the centuries, until the Green Revolution of the 1940s-60s. Many farmers left crop rotation behind for monoculture, which led to higher yields but also an increase in the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and a loss of biodiversity, among other problems.
In the U.S., cheap grains have led to obesity and sensitivities to soy and gluten due to overexposure. I could go on and on about this… I haven’t even mentioned the factory farming of animals.
I’m not an expert but I can think of a few ideas to solve these problems. If the government is going to give farming subsidies, maybe they should be for making healthier foods like fruits and vegetables more affordable rather than grains. Buying locally is an obvious way to cut down on the carbon footprint of eating, and also a way to be able to more quickly identify the origins of tainted foods. Animals raised for food on grass rather than grain live in more humane conditions and their meat is leaner.
There’s more problems and more solutions, but I’m done for now.