Present Tense

On Food: A Manifesto

gardenIn a sure sign that spring will eventually arrive, I received an email and order form from a local farmer that we buy beef from. Time to order for the fall harvest. I sent in my deposit and I’m in for a side of his locally produced beef.

Food. We all need it. We all eat it. It seems to me that many of us spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it. I know I do. Not in the way you might think; I’m sort of obsessed about our food chain. I believe that our food is the biggest cause of disease and ill health in the U.S. I’m not alone. You can do your own research.

Start with the movie “Food, Inc”  or “Fed Up” and many others that you can watch for free on Netflix and Amazon Prime, etc. Maybe you’ll climb on my bandwagon after doing a little research.

One of the reasons that I wanted to move to northern Michigan was because it’s a foodie heaven. Tons of locally grown produce, fruit, meats, cheese, honey, maple syrup and on and on. Almost anything you need for sustenance is grown and produced here. Much of it organic or chemical-free. There are so many farm stands in the summer and fall, that I constantly carry $1 bills so that I can stop and buy great food.

We also grow our own food. We have a garden, an orchard with 30 apple trees, wild blackberries and raspberries, a huge asparagus patch and now my husband has resumed his hobby of beekeeping.

We buy our beef, poultry, fish, lamb and eggs from locals. We see how those animals are raised; outside, foraging with plenty of room. They are healthy and strong and I’m mostly convinced that they have pretty good lives. I’m still considering cutting animals out of my diet, but as long as I can get the protein that’s raised in this way, I’m at peace with eating them. My moral and humane apple cart is not upset.

Now, I understand that we are blessed to live in a place where this is possible. But, then again, we chose this place for that reason, so it’s not luck; it’s planning and foresight.  Most everyone can find a supply of organic or humanely raised meat no matter where you live, if you take the time.

My husband and I still argue about organic vs. conventionally grown food and I tend to choose organic and items that are labeled as non-GMO. Obviously for health, but also because the mega-food industry pisses me off so much.

It’s my personal, activist protest against the way that our food is grown and produced, with so many chemicals and toxins and mostly, the way that these huge companies will NOT allow accurate labeling. The movement to force them to label GMO products has been crushed under corporate money and lobbying and again, that pisses me off.

We should be able to accurately assess what we are buying and eating. We cannot and that’s why I spend a lot of time procuring, growing and preserving the food that is consumed in our house.

The way that animals are grown and harvested for mass consumption is evil and immoral. They are caged, force fed, kept in the dark and shot full of hormones and anti-biotics to produce more meat, more quickly. Then, they are slaughtered in ways that give me nightmares.

In my airy-fairy belief system, I think that when animals are treated this way, negative and violent energy remains in their flesh, meaning that when it is consumed, that bad mojo then transfers to the eater.  Crazy?  Hey, we’re all energy; we exchange good and bad energy all day, every day.  Violence begets violence.  That’s probably a whole other post, though.

I understand that we need food and I understand that we want inexpensive food and that is the problem. Cost. We are not willing to spend a little more for a superior and more moral product. Even though food is the very foundation of our health and well-being, we’d rather spend that money on more data for our phones.

So, this is my manifesto on food. Meat that is labeled “all natural” at a fancy supermarket is not organic or humanely raised. That label means nothing, other than to make you feel better. Educate yourself, commit to spending a little more and eating a little less. Give up the processed crap. Read any of Michael Pollan’s books on food. Don’t just give up and consume environmental toxins because it’s easy and convenient. This kind of apathy is making us fat and sick. That’s not what the creator intended.

Stake out a little area in your lawn and grow something that you can eat.  Quit spending time and money on useless grass and the care and the toxic sprays that keep it green.  It’s not that hard to care for a small garden and you’ll be part of the solution.  I also suspect you’ll feel pretty damned good when you harvest that first healthy salad that you grew. We rely too much on others for our personal care and feeding.  Take back some control and feed your body, soul and spirit with your own hands.

Be well. As Michael Pollan says: “Eat real food; mostly plants”.

February 22, 2015 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Heeeeeeeyyyy, man……….

I wanna be a hippie.  Plain and simple.

Okay, maybe not a true hippie, but what I call a neo-hippie; I think I’m probably a little too old and comfortable to live in a VW bus and follow a band around, but I think my yearning comes from a desire to simplify and downsize my lifestyle.

I was joking with some friends about it; how I’ve started baking bread and am planning to grow some vegetables in my plot in the community garden this summer.   How I’d like to trim some of our ‘stuff’ that fills our house.   Then, I realized that over a decade ago, my husband and I brewed our own beer, we had a big garden and I canned vegetables and he kept bees.  That’s right, I am married to a former (and I hope, future) bee keeper.  We already had hippie training.

I’ve already lived what I am yearning for and yet, at that time, I was ready for a change, so we moved to Colorado.  I wrote in my last post about losing and trying to regain my fearlessness.  I wrote of some of my fears:  dying, losing loved ones, losing everything I’ve worked for and this is what I’ve decided:  I have too much.

My husband and I are at odds as to what to do with what I see as the excess ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated over the years.   We’re not hoarders, but over 21 years of marriage, we’ve collected a fair amount of possessions.  Books, CDs, clothing, furniture, paperwork, tools, shoes, bedding, housewares, bikes, golf clubs, ski gear, cars blah, blah, blah.  We’ve had small houses, medium houses, a condo and currently, a house that is bigger than what we need.  I have a burning desire to clear it all out, right down to the bare minimum essentials.

I told my husband that our possessions feel like a burden; like a weight.  Regrets for the money I spent on too much stuff, regrets that I’ve been wasteful, a sense that we are old, fat, happy and ‘settled’ in our too-big house, with our too many possessions.  It feels suffocating.

He, on the other hand, looks at our “stuff” as a life well-lived; as proof of success.  He fears that anything we get rid of, we’ll need and in some cases, he’s probably right.  I’m not that good at moderation; my instinct is to just expunge and start over.  Intellectually, I know that’s silly; that I should be methodical and practical. The restlessness and at the same time, stagnation that I’m feeling right now, is about more than possessions.

Part of it is the realization that I may not have that much time left and how do I want to spend that time?  I’m not big on regrets; we are given choices, we choose and there is nothing to do but live with it.  However, I recently heard a quote that says it all: ” No matter how far I travel on the wrong path, I can always turn around”.

Anyone want to buy some of my ‘stuff’??

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , | 11 Comments


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