The Organic 100-Mile Diet

This was probably posted to the wrong blog, by oh well:

You’ve never really considered yourself a political person—not beyond the scope of food production, anyway. You’ve really done everything possible to stay away from politics, ever since you read Zimmerman’s A People’s History Of The United States, which does an excellent job of demonstrating how the rich will always remain rich and will do everything possible to maintain their distance from the poor: namely, by either exploiting them egregiously, or maintaining a large middle class of the “satisfied-for-now” to cushion the impact of the desperate.

Since September, you’ve been on a bit of an anti-money ideology. It’s ideology because, realistically, money is here to stay. But money leads to a tremendous amount of evil: nasty environmental and human exploitation. It’s hard to get rid of money; people are too dependent and obsessed with it, and the more they obsess over this abstract thing, the less they connect with real world.

You might be somewhat anti-technology… Well, you’re not exactly anti-technology; you’re really anti-what-technolgoy-does-to-people, i.e., makes people lazy. You’re not advocating that people give up their computer-based jobs, their iphones, their digital music and movies, and turn into luddites.

The point is to remain grounded in this world. As the modern age pushes more and more of our lives into the virtual—money, commerce, work, communication—people actually forget how to function in the real world.

You might be pretty disgusted with the way things are going in the world, and the current level of people’s disconnection with it. You might be thinking “doom doom doom!” because the problems seem too big to conquer. And maybe they are. But if you had to choose one thing that you think would make the most positive impact on the world—above all other things, here it is:

Radically change the way people eat: What if everybody who had the space planted a garden and some fruit tress in their back yards to produce roughly 10-20% of their food, and committed themselves to buying the rest of their food sourced organically, within a radius of 100 miles?

What might happen?

Whoah… that is a big question.  Brainstorm!

People would have:

  1. A closer relationship to their environment.Right? Because if you’re planting your own garden, composting your organic waste, getting your hands dirty, and seeing how better environmental stewardship produces better food, you will essentially be eating your immediate environment. Furthermore, because you will only be eating locally, your food options will be subject to the changes in season. Every few months, the colors on the kitchen table change, just as they do outdoors.
  2. A closer relationship with their bodies.When you work with your body, using it for production, you will understand the value of a calorie—both produced and burned. Your body will give you feedback on a local organic diet such as it has never given you before.
  3. Improved health.This practically goes without saying. And with that comes preventative medicine—keeping oneself healthy—and not having to rely in Big Pharma to keep you alive by force-feeding you synthetic chemicals. The incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and everything else would crash (you are more certain of this than anything in the world). Besides local and organic food being more nutritious, you’d wager that the demand for meat would weaken, as a 100-mile radius does not leave much space for factory farms. And as everyone would be eating organic, there sure as hell wouldn’t be the intensive heavily subsidized conventional grain production to feed so much livestock (in your dream, you would also do away with corn-for-ethanol-production). Not that animal foods would be out of the question, but they are input-intensive, and when people understand the real price of these products, they will simply eat fewer of them, which invariably leads to better health.
  4. A greater sense of autonomy.The ability to produce your own food and, in effect, have some food security and food sovereignty, is tremendously important. If you don’t know how to get food outside a restaurant or supermarket, you’re in trouble. Infants don’t know how to get food; adults have no excuse. Autonomy comes from knowing you can grow your own food, and from knowing where your food comes from, so you can weigh your options and be beholden to no one. Furthermore, in the event of a crisis, be it political, financial, or environmental, it might be nice to have a good rapport with your local farmers; or be part of a co-op in your community.
  5. A healthier, more ecologically diverse environment.Wow… if people obliterated the demand for intensive industrial monoculture and turned to diversified smaller organic holdings? Imagine all the varieties. Imagine how many fruit trees would be planted. Imagine the reduction of agricultural wipe-outs from pests and disease. Imagine the obliteration of chemical inputs. Imagine the lack of pollution, of run-off, of slurry, and the reduction of greenhouse gas methane. Imagine how much cleaner the water would be, and how much more of it there’d be.
  6. A greater sense of community.You’d know your neighbors because you’d be outside messing in your garden and see them doing the same, or you’d see them at the farmer’s market. You’d know your farmers. You might even be involved in a co-op. You’d know that what happens in your area has an effect on your food environment.

Nice little utopia, isn’t it? It is POSSIBLE.

Imagine this in the backyard: root vegetables like potatoes, yams, turnips, beets… Squashes and gourds, loads and loads and loads of leafy greens (so many greens that you’re shitting green!), broccoli, cabbage, onions, leeks, etc. Did you forget to mention the fruit trees!? (That is the number one priority for anyone with land: plant trees, they are an investment in the future and give returns straight away.) Apples, pears, nuts… This is effortless food every year. Trees are the lungs of the earth, contribute to ecological diversity, and produce pounds and pounds of food every year, not to mention pounds and pounds of compostable leaves in the autumn. What else? Eat the weeds! You are shocked by how many nutritious, wild, edible greens push through people’s back yards: dandelions, clover, nettles, blackberry leaves, horsetail, daisies, to name a few.

Not everyone is going to do it, but you say, “If you can, you should try:” grow food, rear food (chickens or rabbits are a nice start), and source food within 100 miles—and demand organic. Stop eating chemicals. They are killing you! Slowly and insidiously…

You firmly believe that if people watched just how many chemicals are actually sprayed on the surface of their foods, met the people poisoned by the process, saw the amount of synthetic crap and sludge that goes into the soil—which goes into their food—they would be as turned off by conventional produce as people are by footage of current animal husbandry practices. How many farmers admit to refusing to eat their own crops, in favor of eating from their home gardens? Ahh, but just as the system of meat production, slaughter, cutting, sterilizing, packing, and shipping are kept from view—in order to stimulate appetites with neat and clean-looking cubes of flesh, ready for the grill—the system of produce production is just as easily overlooked by the public.

If people did this, what would happen to the industrial food system? It would collapse. Completely. And the disgusting, toxic agro-industrial practices would come screeching to a halt. You think the positive ripple effects would be unrivaled.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Random Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “The Organic 100-Mile Diet

  1. Angus

    love the sentiment and the attitude, for our first world needs maybe but in terms of feeding the planet I am not sure. we need to stop having a them and us attitude to the agri business, we need to lead them back to the light by voting with our dollars. A great deal of good would accrue from your proposal but the single biggest benifit of a movement like that woukld be the change in tack by the Agri food business. they are in it for money so make them follow your dollar.

    On a lighter note Sli na bande is desolete and poor dougie is wandering about with only puppies for company. Much missed you guys.
    Keep smiling Tiny
    Love you

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