I told folks I’d handle scribe post duties today, so here goes. We made lists of organic farming techniques that students viewed at green.tv in the Food for Life videos (homework). While these videos were based on the UK’s Soil Association organic standards, they are almost the same as the USDA National Organic Program organic standards (established by the 1990 Organic Food Production Act). For the test, you need to know the USDA definition of organic (I have a handout for you) and methods farmers must use to earn this label:
On the outside chance that today’s discussion was of interest and you want to know more, here’s what comes to my mind. This summer I finished The Ominvore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan (2006). Wow. What do you eat for dinner when you can eat anything-and how do you know it is safe? That, in a nutshell, is the omnivore’s dilemma. More importantly, Pollan tries to trace what we eat to the sources. Along the way, you discover some of the “why” we eat what we do…and the answers are sometimes quite unappetizing.
I was thrilled to move to a yard last fall that gave me the room to garden again. Our last lot was too small. Here is my 10 x 20 foot raised-bed garden at about 60 days after planting:
My daughter helped me plant it in last April. We grew tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, potatoes, corn, squash, carrots, and herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, cilantro, mint)–all in this small space. While I can’t grow all my veggies, I’m glad I can show my kids where food comes from, other than the grocery. I’ve read the average piece of produce in an American supermarket travels some 1,500 miles! It takes a tremendous amount of oil to ship out-of-season “fresh” produce to our grocery stores. So, my little garden is an attempt to save some oil in a way. People make a great deal of fuss about buying organic without realizing that large-scale organic (like Whole Foods) uses a lot of energy resources. Perhaps the MOST “environmentally-friendly” food choice one can make is to buy local.
Pollan also explores industrialized meat production (feedlots or CAFOs). I don’t want to get to far into that topic today as someone has already blogged on it in from your class. He affirms much of what was documented by Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation (2001). Another gripping read about the American diet–I think you guys did in 9th grade? If the topic interests you, keep your eyes open for the documentary movie Food, Inc., which was in theaters this summer. I know Time Warner has it on DVR currently. Check out the trailer (it features Pollan and Schlosser):
So, do you know where your food comes from?