Today is National Food Day! Food Day is a national celebration and day of awareness around the need for a more sustainable, healthy, and affordable food system. Our current food system is unsustainable, are large pollution source and emitter of greenhouse gases.
The ultimate goal for this day is to unify the food movement and push for and improve our nation’s food policies.
Until a few days ago, I was unaware of the real issues surrounding our food system. The next time you pick up your groceries at your nationwide, chain grocery store, think about where your food is coming from and what it has gone through to be conveniently available to you year long.
Do me a favor? Take it one step further and think about how convenient it is to have a grocery store at your disposal at all. You may have the luxury to drive whatever distance to your favorite grocery store, but there are some people who are not. There are areas across the country identified as “food deserts” who have little to no access to adequate food to support a healthy diet. These are also areas that are typically populated by numerous fast food restaurants. The Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University is currently working on mapping this issues for the state of Maryland. No community should be a victim of food deserts, but it is a sad reality of the system we operate it.
One last favor? Tell me, do you think it is fair that farmers, those responsible for growing the food our nation and our world, depends on should depend on food stamps? Because I don’t. The ideal family farm we like to envision is not the family farm of today and some farm families are forced to rely on food stamps. Our food system is controlled by industrial agricultural systems. There are a number of myths floating around in regards to our food system. Anne Lappe addresses these myths in her film “Food Mythbusters: Do We Really Need Industrial Agriculture to Feed the World?”
If we begin to focus locally, and begin shifting our food purchases, thereby creating a space and market for small, family farms to make a living we could begin transforming the food system to a more sustainable model. This cannot happen over night, but if we focus one community at a time, we could begin seeing a real difference.