Friday, June 15, 2012

The Blind Leading the Blind

While reading, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver I came across many very interesting concepts about the food we eat; and why we eat it.  I have had such a good experience reading this book and I feel that anyone who eats should read it.

Towards the end of the book, page 339 to be exact, has a quick side note about critics of eating local food. Many people think that eating local and organic is expensive, and at a first glance, they are right.  The thing to keep in mind about eating "conventional" foods is that although they may seem like they cost less, they are actually costing more in the long run.  Let's take a conventional apple for example.  That tree is sprayed with pesticides (cost:  health and money), grown on hundreds of acres (cost:  money, depleted nutrients in soil from lack of crop rotation), picked and planted by machinery (cost:  tax dollars, gasoline), and then delivered to stores year round (cost:  trucks, drivers, taxes, health, market).  Now for comparison, the organic apple.  This apple tree is surrounded by a few more trees for natural pollination, no pesticides are used, usually picked by hand (by the farmer), and are brought to market only while in season (can't grow apples in the winter...).

Which would you chose to eat?  Which would ultimately cost less?  You decide and let me know what you think.
Now, back to the book...This side note talks about how a golden rice has been genetically created to feed the malnourished children of the world.  This rice gets its golden color from the beta carotene that has been bred into it (beta carotene is synthesized into vitamin A by our bodies to enhance eye sight and brain function).  The ironic thing about this creation is that "most of the world's malnourished children live in countries that already produce surplus food" (339).  The nutritional problems that these children are experiencing are because of these mono-cultured products we are creating.  The whole reason that multiple types of plants are edible is so the body can absorb the nutrients easily.  When the golden rice is eaten, the beta carotene is not as bio-available as if it were from dark leafy greens, carrots, or other naturally colorful food.  This whole crisis could be solved if the world focused on eating natural foods that their land creates.

I would appreciate some comments on this topic because it is very close to my heart and I would love to hear some different opinions on this case; so please feel free to let me know what you think/how you feel about this issue.

Luana ola!