Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nanowrimo Day 4

I’m not filling these pages with a whole lot of information about why it is necessary that we return to a locally based diet. There are scholars and farmers and activists who’ve already written those books. What I noticed was missing was a “make it quick, simple, and painless” cookbook on the subject. So that’s the niche my book fits into

However the subject is very important. If you are reading my cookbook and not really convinced of how important this all is, or you want more polished information on the politics around food, farming, and agribusiness to quote while serving turnips AGAIN, here are some books really worth reading.

The End of Food – How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply – And What You Can Do About It by Thomas F Pawlick

I admit I have a longstanding crush on Thomas Pawlick. I grew up on Harrowsmith Magazine, which he edited back in the good old days when it really offered farming advice. He holds a deep affection for eastern Ontario, where I grew up. He was part of the 1970’s back to the land movement and deeply respects farmers and the work they do. He writes with humour, intelligence, righteous ire, and a balance that comes from years as a farm journalist. To get to the point – he is a no shit farmer who eats meat, knows where his meat comes from, and maintains that there isn’t a conflict of interest in sustainable humane farming practices and being an omnivore.

The End of Food is a case study of everything that is wrong with multinational corporation controlled industrial agribusiness. The corporation values speed, uniformity, and cost efficiency above all else. They are not in business to provide nutritious, wholesome food. The byproducts of this business model are unsustainable farming practices, cruelty to animals, the creation of genetically modified organisms, transfatty acids, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the spread of things like swine and avian influenza. National recalls of meat products because of salmonella, listeria, and e-coli contamination are just the tip of the iceberg.

In The End of Food Pawlick moves from his personal quest for a decent tasting tomato to the nutritional value of foods today compared to the 1930’s. From nutritional degradation he moves onto the degradation and tortuous conditions factory farmed animals are subjected to. From the factory farm he follows the transport trucks to the factory slaughterhouses and then onto the factory meat packing plants. Are these horror stories? Yes they are, but he does not go on to preach veganism as a solution. Instead, he offers alternatives based in sustainable small and medium sized community farms. He calls on consumers to participate in “acts of subversion”. He encourages guerrilla gardening, buying local through farmer’s markets and joining community supported agricultural cooperatives. E encourages you to learn to put up food so you can continue eating local when the local pickings are slim.

Pawlick ends with this bit of wisdom for you to digest – “Food is not just something you jam in your mouth and swallow fast to prevent starvation. It is the basis of social interaction…Pressed by the demands of work and daily cares, we may not always be able to give this ritual due attention. But it should be given much more regard than it is in our present culture.”

That’s really why I wanted to write this book. To empower you to take back the skills and knowledge that make eating whole foods easy and enjoyable, even when you are so rushed that you are just jamming food in your mouth and swallowing fast to prevent starvation.

No comments: