I like food. As a general rule (and I am a rule follower) the worse it is for me the better I like it. But being the enigma I am, there are also fleeting attempts at being healthy. Clearly some sort of foodie Jekyll and Hyde thing going on. A few years ago in brief burst of health I read The Omnivores Dilemma and immediately resolved to eat nothing but food that was locally sourced, grass-fed, watered with unicorn tears, and lovingly harvested by nubile young virgins. That lasted only a few weeks. It’s just so damn easy to go to the mega-mart instead. It wasn’t a complete waste however – I did buy a cow and will do so again once I finish the approximately 276 pounds of hamburger in my freezer.
Anyway, last night after catching up on the Kardashian channel (E! News) I stumbled across Michael Pollan’s movie “Food Inc.”. It wasn’t bad. A little disturbing and very sensationalist. Like his books it does make you think about your food and that’s a good thing. It would be a wonderful thing if we could all afford to buy from farmers markets and not be slaves to the evil corporate machine. Evil-doers I tell you!
Unfortunately it’s not reality. The US population is 317 million. The world population is 7.1 billion. By 2050 those numbers are projected to be 400 million and 8.92 billion. We do not have the capacity to feed those numbers with sustainable chickens running free through the woods and listening to Miley Cyrus on their little iChicken headphones prior to slaughter. Here in the US, we have already exceeded the soil’s capacity to grow. If it wasn’t for the miracle of modern nitrogen-based fertilizers we’d be living in some sort of futuristic Mad Max dust bowl already.
So enough of the self-righteous condemnation of the modern food industry. If, as Warren Buffet said, you’re one of the winners of the ovarian lottery be thankful. Drive the 20 miles to Whole Foods in your eco-friendly Prius and be grateful you can pay $6.99 for Chilean Blueberries while sipping a $7 mocha-latte made from beans sourced from Brazil.
GMO’s, drought and pesticide resistant seeds, massive corporate food production slaughterhouses and assembly lines, cheap immigrant labor… these really are good things. Why? The alternative is third-world food scarcity everywhere. If you have a true, viable, alternative to feed the planet I’m all ears. Meanwhile I’m going to go get me some .99¢ deep-fried chicken tenders, feel bad about myself and resolve to eat more salads.