Industrial Food: A Path to Nowhere
The past 50 years have seen an unprecedented rise in farming productivity, encouraged by the words, deeds and policies of people like Earl Butz. More, faster, cheaper. But this has come at a cost - to our health, to our earth, and to our once-thriving agricultural diversity.
The industrial food chain is tangled. Chemically-treated, highly-processed, nutritionally-poor foods are often presented as convenient and tasty options. We're beginning to see the results of this unsustainable system - a system that has contributed to the degradation of our agricultural heartland, waterways or overall public health.
The Obesity Epidemic
Alarmingly, obesity and related conditions like diabetes are nearing epidemic levels.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Our industrial food system is characterized by, but not limited to:
- Thousands of acres of one crop (monocultures) prone to infestation and disease
- Liberal use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers - 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the US, according to the EPA
- A "dead zone" about the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico that many believe results from excessive pesticide and fertilizer runoff
- Large Congregated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) - often the size of small cities. CAFOs congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area.
- Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise seeking feed in pastures, fields, or on range land
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) with unknown risks and questionable benefits being used on ever-expanding acreage
- Diminished diversity in seeds and species that increase overall systemic risk to our food supply.
Some of our heroesMichael Pollan, Author
Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules
Author, Fast Food Nation
Chef, author and educator Alice Waters
Chef, author and proprietor of Chez Panisse
Pioneer of culinary philosophy that maintains using seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally
Director and producer, Food Inc
Food Safety Advocate
Seed Matters Cultivator
Industrial Food Documentaries
- Food Inc.
- Dirt: The Movie
- King Corn
- Super Size Me
- The Future of Food
- Our Daily Bread