When you go to the grocery store, how much effort to you put into thinking about what the food policy of your household is? It’s an interesting question that has been pushing me around the web lately.
I grew up in Wisconsin and quite honestly, I remember having a garden all my childhood. I worked in the gardens, spending summers weeding plants, composting and of course harvesting the ‘vegetables’ of my labor. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I’ve had the pleasure of spending time on a couple – harvesting hay and milking cows were the two things I enjoyed the most.
In addition, my grandparents would often take me out to find asparagus and walnuts. In the kitchens of family members, and at home, preparing meals with naturally grown foods was a common occurrence. At the same time, I remember growing up listening to local farm reports and highly respected media personalities talk about Roundup Ready crops.
Through some secondary education and into the career world I didn’t consider my diet much, consuming pizza and mass produced and big farm manufactured foods. Based on my consistency of food consumption and employment my weight, mental state and overall health has fluctuated greatly. Over the years I have seen how processed and prepackaged food have enhanced the levels of illnesses in others. Avoiding soda and high sugar processed items, as well as my personal battle to prevent the purchase of plastics in my daily life has helped me to eat fairly responsibly. I don’t by any means eat organic and it’s difficult to eat 100% fresh. Especially on a budget.
Then I learned about Genetically Modified Foods also known as GMO’s. I learned how, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, roughly 90% of core crops: Sugar Beets, Soybeans, Corn and Cotton are grown with gmo seeds. Modified seeds can’t be that bad, can they? It’s a question I asked and did lot’s of research on. Recently I saw a picture, it made things very clear to me, showing how GMO corn is: Corn +DNA from soil bacteria + genes from e.coli plus more bacteria that causes tumors in plants.
So, now I have a food policy. In every circumstance possible I buy local. I am trying to avoid shopping for processed foods, go to farmers markets and am doing my best to buy free range animals. When in doubt, I am using a smartphone app call Buycott. This app allows me to scan the bar codes of products and it tells me if I am about to purchase an item that is conflict with my core values. In addition I am watching movies like Food Fight ( you need a HULU account), following entities like The Organic Consumers Association and watching feeds on Facebook from groups in my community like March Against Monsanto- Denver and GMO Free USA the parent group of many GMO free state entities.
All of this takes work, time and effort. In addition to changing my shopping habits, I’m contributing time in my community focusing on educating others about what I have learned. In addition I’m pushing for legislation that requires Food Labeling on all things containing any GMO products.
For me, it’s worth the quality of life, and the knowledge that I am not killing myself in the process of enjoying life. Do you think being educated and making the kind of changes I am is worth it?