Heavily processed and unnatural food practices have been a normal part of the food system in North America for only about 60 years. Before that time, most foods were naturally organic and few people ate processed foods. Both my parents grew up in rural areas where everyone in the community got 90% of what they consumed from their backyard, the forest around them or the ocean. Flour, salt, sugar and a few other basic baking ingredients were the only food items they bought.
While governments, organisations and activist groups prattle on about environmental issues and claim the end of the world is nigh, they offer little in real solutions. They keep talking globally when the answer is locally. When I think of the popular slogan “Buy Local”, I don’t think about buying from a local store. I think of buying food and products grown and created near me, not a thousand miles away. I want apples grown within 100 miles of me, not 500.
If the amount of food transported more than 200 miles to our table was cut in half, I wonder how it would benefit the environment? What if it was reduced by 75%? Imagine the fewer trips needed by trucks, trains, boats and planes.
If every province (or state) grew enough food to supply 80% of their population’s demand, how would that affect the environment?
After watching the documentary Revolution Food, which compares various farming practices of today in the United States with those of other countries, I came away with this nugget of wisdom: The health of the soil directly impacts the health of the body. Given the practices of industrial farming today, I wonder if the soil our food grows in is healthy enough to provide us with good health.
A few years ago, I heard Charles Dowding say something I’d never heard in all my decades of gardening and working at garden centres: feed the soil, not the plants. I’ve taken that advice to heart and have made it a goal to create better soil, which in turn will produce better, stronger, healthier plants that will in turn improve my overall health.
With food becoming more expensive and unhealthy, as well as scarce in some locations, it’s time to rethink our relationship with the food supply chain.