Food, Inc. And Local, Affordable Food
Last night I went to see Food, Inc.
In my opinion the movie did not have anything new to say about Big Agribusiness but it was well worth seeing, to see how many key people in government that have determination over our national food policy have previous relationships with companies like Monsanto, as well as reaffirm the fragility consumers have over their food choices.
The panel discussion that followed the movie included friends Lisa Taranto of Tricycle Gardens and Lisa Dearden of The Center For Rural Culture and The Goochland's Farmer's Market. The audience participation was lively- I particularly liked a cardiologist who said, "Everyone complains about the high cost of eating better, but don't understand that the medicine to treat the ailments caused by poor health and not eating well are more expensive. We all need to understand that we, individuals, need to be responsible for our own health."
One question asked repeatedly was "How can we make good food affordable for those that need it most and can't afford it?"
We rely on the grocers, the farmers. We can vote with our purchase dollars, telling these businesses that we, as consumers, want humanely raised, pastured meat, and fresh, local vegetables. But what was not discussed was that not only should you take responsibility for your own personal health (eat well, work out, to prevent sickness and disease), but that each person should have the RIGHT to responsibly grow their own backyard (and frontyard) veggies, that each person should have the RIGHT to responsibly have a few laying hens and mini-goats for (here's where I reel it back to economics) AFFORDABLE fresh eggs and milk for their family.
Have you seen the statistics on childhood diabetes and obesity lately?!?
Address affordability, health, passing on a sense of connection to animals and land to our children while providing them exercise:
If you have a back yard: Get some frickin' chickunz.
I promise you, your children will chase and play with those chickens allllllllllllll day long, while teaching them about animals and where their food comes from.
For those (including zoning) that feel chickens are messy and smelly, I offer up an urban coop for your inspection.
Chickens naturally want to be in the brush, scratching for grubs while being protected from predators. So in your average residential back yard, they will be eating the japanese beetles from underneath your rose bushes, hiding in the acuba, pecking through your ivy. Therefore, their "mess" remains in areas that are not trafficked by the rest of the family.
...If only the dogs behaved so!
Unfortunately, many counties and cities have forbidden responsible urban farming.
Did you know that a pair of mini-goats, each about 50 pounds, can provide your family with a gallon of fresh milk a day? Both of my dogs are larger than that. My local zoning says I have have three dogs - so I could have three 200 pound mastiffs - yet won't allow a few laying hens in the same back yard?
This is where we, as consumers, need to not only buy locally, eat well, but tell our local government that it should be everyone's right to be sustainable, to have, if they choose, those affordable, healthy options for their family.
P.s. If you like, join our FaceBook urban chicken group, CHICKUNZ, and if you're local, sign the petition for urban chicken in Henrico!