What did you eat today? Take a minute to think of all of your meals, snacks and drinks that you’ve consumed in the last 24 hours. Now with that delicious list in mind, consider this question: Where did it come from?
With ever more cases of people getting sick from the food they eat and our collective health on the decline in the US , what are we eating that is so harmful? Are these symptoms of a diet that is simply unbalanced or is there something more sinister in the food itself, from carrots to milk, which might be the culprit? This is a difficult question to answer without knowing where food comes from. The average US citizen thinks that throwing a side salad or piece of fruit onto a meal will bring good health, not realizing that the entire meal actually contains harmful chemicals.
The vast majority of food sold in local chain grocery stores does not come from small family owned farms in nearby communities. Instead, today’s animals, staples and vegetables are produced by huge agribusinesses on what are called ‘factory farms’. During the last fifty years, the application of industrial production methods upon the farm community has left your food coming from places that more closely resemble car manufacturing facilities rather than traditional family farms.
The unnatural conditions that these factories impose upon farms, be it wheat or beef, robs the farm’s ecosystem of its health. This unfortunate situation is then both temporarily remedied and long term exacerbated by applying unbelievably large amounts of toxic synthetic chemicals (pesticides, fertilizer or antibiotics) to the systems. These chemicals mask the worst of the symptoms of the sick environment, much like putting a band-aid on a festering boil, but ultimately lead to even unhealthier conditions and products.
The result is that our meats, vegetables, grains and water are contaminated with harmful hormones and toxins. This may strike you as an overdramatic or sensationalized statement but even the conservative EPA says of vegetables that ‘not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing’ and suggests not eating any animal fat or skin because ‘pesticides residues collect in fat’. Unfortunately, daily consumption of these chemicals by the American public are shown in study after study to be harmful to human health.
With modern agriculture producing unhealthy foods for the country, what are we to do? The good news is that as the ramifications of factory farming become more and more evident to the public it is causing people to fight back against the current systems in place. Young Americans around the country are taking proud steps backwards in modern development on the agricultural front and embracing traditional farming methods. These techniques used by our great grandparents’ generation to feed the nation produced quality foods that were nutritious and toxin free.
The Luquillo Farm Sanctuary was formed due to concern about Puerto Rico’s lack of supply of high quality fruits and vegetables that are free of contamination from poisonous synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The farm is dedicated to producing food in a manner that supports the health and well being of not just its consumers but of the environment too. While we are located in the Caribbean, the trend is growing stronger across America and your city doubtlessly has local, environmentally conscious farms popping up around it too. What is the number one easiest (and tastiest) thing you can do to fix the environment and improve your health? Go out and buy produce from one of your organic local farms today.