Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Feed the World...Organically!

Food for everyone!  Who wouldn’t want that?  Certainly, the companies that sell genetically modified foods and pesticides have gotten away with the enormous amount of damage they have caused on our planet by claiming that very thing.  They have said it
and we have believed them, which just goes to show you how the proverbial dollar has forged this idea of practical sainthood of the corporations into our minds.  We see images of the ubiquitous corn fields and have been taught to look at them as our savior.  The reality is that the bulk of that corn is used in contradiction to nature.  

Firstly, it is made into addicting sugar products that are hidden in virtually everything that is processed, including in all the so-called natural items.  Its other primary purpose is used to feed cattle. That would be great if corn was part of the cow's normal diet, but it is not and it is not good for them.  Moreover, the corporations have touched upon our weak spot by convincing us that GM foods are better because it is cheaper. Unfortunately, while the GM food prices might be more palatable for our pocketbooks, all of this is nothing more than a marketing scheme so that these companies can continue earning unprecedented amounts of money at not only our individual body’s expense, but the entire world’s expense, as well. 

One of the largest culprits in the mass destruction of Mother Earth is Monsanto, but if you go to their website you might think they were the answer to all of our prayers.  Their logo displays an artistic rendition of a plant.  Their home page has beautiful images depicting fields of mono-agriculture stating their ‘vision’.  In one picture we see two farmers talking together about a head of lettuce.  The words written across it say, “We’re helping farmers bring more appealing produce to your plate.”  It’s pretty audacious to think one can improve upon Mother Nature. Furthermore, these photos placed together make it seem as though they are on our sideas though they want to help us.  If that were the case, why do they utilize scare tactics in making certain that local farmers can no longer use their own seed?  The answer is that they want to have the corner on biology so that they are able to earn every single penny that they can. Regrettably, the ramifications behind technological farming is simply causing us to quickly lose the ability to maintain our food and water supply.  

What's more, Monsanto is only a part of the problem.  Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and BASF are also contributing to this cataclysm.  However, if you were to visit each of their respective sites, you would once again see the advertising dollar hard at work.  The first four display lovely over-sized pictures of nature conveying this idea that they are helping with our food problem.  BASF, on the other hand, takes a slightly different approach. Its homepage shows how they have helped to revolutionize the Nike shoe. Apparently, their chemistry is helping to form a "sustainable future." Despite these sales tactics, photos can be deceiving.  At what cost is science altering our natural environment?

For one thing mono-cropping depletes the dirt of its nutrients, which in turn depletes the nutrients in the plant-life. Vegetation is the food source for many animals (including us), which means a domino effect of malnutrition is being engineered for the entire world's population of plants and animals. Even more disturbing is the rate at which the impending demise of all of our food products is taking place. The film, The Future of Food, states that 97% of the crops from the early twentieth century are now extinct because of modern farming practices. That’s ninety-seven percent! Needless to say, that is an alarming amount.  Moreover, this documentary shows how GM companies are selling their products to the populace by claiming that they can prevent food insecurity by feeding the world with their crops.  Yet, the unfortunate reality of why people are starving in the third world nations is actually being caused by these companies interference. 

The reason for this is due to the fact that many third world nations borrowed large sums of money from first world nationsmoney that they could not pay back.  A resolution was contrived in order to make ends meet.  Technological corporate farming was introduced to these nations too, making it easier on the governments to pay off their loans. One of the many problems with this is that the governments who once subsidized the individual farmer no longer had the means to do so, which simply means that the small farmer can no longer provide food for him and his family. Consequently, this lack of subsidization has led to the starvation of the masses and the exodus of copious amounts of people into the cities. In other words, GM foods are causing food deprivation, not just because they are ruining our land and our climate, but because they are chasing small farmers from their livelihood.

The good news is that there are those out there who are not only re-shaping the way we think about food, they are also creating sustainable resources for feeding the population. For one, there is Stephen Ritz who is a teacher in the South Bronx. One might wonder what a teacher can do to make a difference in feeding the world.  I mean this guy isn't even a farmer. However, he certainly has the alacrity to help "his kids" get healthy, happy and whole. By creating over one hundred wall-gardens in schools and larger gardens out in the community, he and his students are indeed making a difference. In his words, 'the poorest congressional district in America, the South Bronx,' now feeds scrumptious organic foods to hundreds of people 'without taking food stamps or needing a fingerprint.' 

His kids are licensed and have planted lush gardens all over New York and in other states, as well. Furthermore, these young people who were once considered the most likely not to succeed are now engaged. They are not only staying in school, they are graduating and even attending college. Knowledge is power, while the food they are consuming is helping to create thinking, healthy minds that crave this knowledge.  That is certainly a good thing.

On the other side of the country, Ron Finley, aka the Guerrilla Gardner, is taking action in South Central Los Angeles.  Sadly, South Central is a food desert, which means the primary food source comes from fast-food and liquor stores. While Beverly Hills may only be a few miles away, lack of nutrition in this part of the city has led to obesity, wheelchairs and a lopsided percentage of unhealthy occupantsprimarily caused by the lack of wholesome organic foods.  In his talk on TedTV, Finley discusses how food is the problem and the solutionand he right.  Our bodies respond in kind to the type of energy that is placed into it.  Feed it a bright orange healthy carrot and it will feel good.  Feed it a greasy burger from McDonald's and the body goes into rejection mode.  

Finley had grown weary of having to travel forty-five minutes to buy an organic apple, so he stepped up to the plate and planted a garden in front of his homeand that was only the beginning.  Thanks to his dedication, at least twenty more gardens have burgeoned around town in order to help others in need.  Don't get me wrong, the food he helps to grow is not free. Volunteers may be in charge of its creation, but the people consuming it, must work the land and sell the output at local farmer's markets so that more gardens can be created.  Needless to say, it is a win-win for everyone.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Mr. Finley.  He says, "If kids grow kale, they eat kale." For decades, we have been brainwashed to believe that our technologically made food is good for us.  So, we become adults who eat the garbage that we have been brought up to believe is healthy. However, if we educate our children on the importance of eating properly and maintaining a sustainable Earth, they will grow up with the understanding of how every aspect in nature affects one another. Our children are the key to shifting the threat of mass food extinction that we are in the midst of facing if we don't all make the necessary changes that are needed. 

A food revolution is upon us.  The only difference is that instead of weapons, this revolution will be fought with organic vegetation.

Thank you for reading about my Organic Bliss!

To learn more about Stephen Ritz, please visit his Green Bronx Machine website or watch his enthusiastic talk on TedTV.

For more information on Ron Finley, visit his site or watch him impress you on TedTV, as well.