Wednesday, May 19, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Embracing Local Foods

"The USDA is not our ally here.  We have to take matters into our own hands, not only by advocating for a better diet for everyone - and that's the hard part - but by improving our own.  And that happens to be quite easy.  Less meat, less junk, more plants."

                                                                                             --Mark Bittman

I just finished reading Mark Bittman's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food from Sustainable to Suicidal.  Published this year, the book is a must read if you care about where your food comes from and how it is grown.  It is also recommended for all those working to creating local food policies that support local farmers and a sustainable food chain.  It makes me proud of how my grandfather rotated his crops, growing clover and alfalfa as cover crops to replenish the soil on his Indiana farm.

Having survived more than a year of living through a once-in-a-century pandemic, we have become acutely conscious of how fragile our food system is and how unhealthy most of the food grown in the U.S. is.  Mr. Bittman wrote that 75% of the world eats what is considered “peasant food” while most of the food grown in the U.S. is used to create ethanol for fuel and to feed animals destined for the inhumane CAFO (confined animal feeding operations). When the U.S. shifted to monocrop farming and the use of Round-up Ready corn and soybean seeds, the incidence of diseases such as cancer and autism made a rapid rise.  Glyphosate, the cancer-causing active ingredient in Round-Up, is now in most of the U.S. drinking water supply.

In the past year, Louisville chef Edward Lee responded to the pandemic and transformed his love of good food and feeding others to create supports for restaurant workers (Restaurant Workers Relief Program), people living in food deserts (McAtee Training and Community Kitchen), local farmers, and a better farm to fork supply chain.

I choose to vote for locally grown, seasonal organic foods every weekend when I visit the local farmers market wherever I am.  Writers like Mark Bittman raise awareness that we better start caring about how our food is grown in the U.S. by supporting local farmers and rethinking our food supply. Chefs like Edward Lee provide hope that we can do it. After all, food is love.   

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect