6 Easy Ways to Get Involved in Food Politics
Many authors today have tackled the politics and emotions surrounding food production and consumption in our country as well as internationally. We often hear phrases like food revolution, local vs. organic, food deserts, GMO foods, large scale farming all with the premise that we need to rethink our current food system and its economic realities.
We are now potentially looking at obesity in our country as a more serious problem than hunger. Why is it that the idea of obtaining nutritious, organic food, affordably, food that is produced without injustice, is considered a revolution? What can we do, what ready-to-use solutions are there for us as consumers to get involved, become educated, and make it so it is not a revolution, but a common law built into our culture?
Here are six ideas we have found in our experience over the last 16 years of organic farming, preserving land and wildlife, eating consciously, raising children and trying to make a sustainable difference for future generations. It is the commitment we have and the recognition that we can make a difference, everyday with every meal.
1. Food is Medicine
We like to think about our food as medicine. As summer approaches and we excite in being outdoors and celebrating the beauty of warm days with friends and family, eating fresh simple fruits and vegetables will go a long way for the body compared to BBQ hotdogs. Experiment with the many seasonal fruits and veggies eating fresh, gaining nutritional vitamins and minerals that will set your body up for the long rainy winter to come.
2. Source food locally and regionally
We like to think of the west as our region and there are many amazing farmers producing fantastic crops that support the soil, water, and wildlife within our region. Farmers markets abound in almost every neighborhood from Memorial Day thru October. Spend a half day visiting your local farms, markets or p-patches to see how your favorite veggies are grown and harvested. Full Circle Farm delights in sharing its bounty at many markets such as the Sunday Farmer’s Market in Ballard as well as the Tuesday Farmer’s Market in Carnation.
3. Engage in organic solutions for a healthy earth
On our farm we do this by using only organic seed, soil nutrients, composting, and creating zones for wildlife. We take extra care in providing salmon safe habitat as we engage in agriculture. You can do this as well by creating a garden space either with fruits and vegetables or flowers or both. In doing this you will happily provide habitat for the essential pollinators, birds, bees, and bats. We rely on these vital players to pollinate many of our crops and ensuring their health is our great responsibility.
4. Give what you can
Increase charitable giving for programs involved with nutrition and the conservation of flora and fauna. We donate a great amount of food weekly to Hopelink and also engage in providing many school tours in hopes of planting the seed for the appreciation and commitment of sustaining organic agriculture. There are many programs where you can directly work in the dirt and on the land to make a lasting change, both here and abroad.
5. Read and get involved at the government level
Below is a list of fantastic books to get you started in this arena. Many are rich with extensive research in helping us understand how we got to this point and how we can move forward. Understanding the industrial food giants and how farm subsidies work will invoke lots of great debate and thought to wrestle with as well as how advertising influences our concept of “nutrition.” Try one of these out for your next book club meeting;
- The End Of Food By Paul Roberts
- In Defense of Food By Michael Pollan
- Food Politics By Marion Nestle
- The Taste for Civilization By Janet Flammang
6. Bring back the ritual of the table
This is of course our favorite with an ever increasingly busy and growing family we have a tradition shared for generations, a celebration and chance to talk about food and life. This is our chance to create a moment, to settle without electronics and engage in the sheer delight of eating. This is a moment for us to take pride in knowing that the food grown and prepared will nourish our body and mind and the environment as a whole.
What activities do you participate in to change the food system? Let us know in the comments below. Just learning about organic agriculture and its role in food politics? Start by learning about the Dirty Dozen.