This video speaks to one of the most narrow-minded views of self sustainability. Understandably, the authors discuss some of the economical benefits of food globalization and the extended reach of mass food production to those in inclement weather and of lower socioeconomic means. However, they fail to acknowledge the practicality of the vision for an achievable local, organic and self-sustainable food supply right in Americans’ backyards.
Living in California, I’ve had an amazing source of year-round produce and access to some of the cleanest, most nutritious and affordable food from farmers markets and local grocery stores. Growing up on the East Coast, however, I was a product of frozen vegetables, french fries and hot pockets, with minimum exposure to farm fresh veggies. Now that I split my time between coasts, my family and I grow an organic garden from spring until fall in a successful attempt to live off the land. Does it cover my entire veggie regimen? No. But, it does provides an easy, affordable and self-sustainable way for a significant portion of our nutritious diet during those seasons. Friends of ours take personal gardening to the next level and grow food year-round in their greenhouses. Others have significant ties to CSAs and local garden shares and farms, making fresh, local produce a reality 365 days a year.
The fact that the public thinks they need to rely on grocery stores with produce shipped in from 10,000 miles away is a farce. If I had known growing up that local food was an option, my early life would have been drastically different. There were three farms in my town when I was little. By the time I reached high school, there was one and it was basically a convenience store that we stopped at for some snacks during driver’s ed. I never knew that it was possible to live off the land, have fresh, local and nutrient-dense produce and support local farmers.
In today’s world, with the ever-growing local food movement, it is paramount to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of a healthier and more affordable diet. It literally takes a few seeds, some seedling plants and some organic soil and voila! Instant grocery store right outside your door. I support being your own gardener if possible or getting as close to this goal as you can.
Re-standardizing our farming methods to improve the quality and yield of pesticide-free, non-GMO foods is both a noble and achievable goal. Our focus should be on boosting local farming communities to become the standard of produce in grocery stores and lower consumer costs. The author admits that we are out of touch with our food. He acknowledges that this kind of system can work in sunny climates like California. Why can’t this be the gold standard? Why can’t we marry idealism with pragmatism and push forth a stronger and healthier food industry and economy? It may not solve all of America’s grocery challenges, but it would be a giant step in the right direction for a healthier and more self-sufficient America.