How does Big Agriculture (Big Ag) justify their horrible policies and practices?
I found the answer when I stumbled into the raging debate on Twitter, under the hashtag #ag4all yesterday. I was reading a tweet by someone I follow and noticed that they included #ag4all at the end of their tweet. I clicked on #ag4all and saw the stream of tweets debating Big Ag vs. Organic.
I read some of the back and forth between Twitter users before I made any comments. After a while, my blood began to boil and I was in a really confrontational mood. These brainwashed puppets of Monsanto!
The common argument is "we just provide what the market demands". Thus, when the "market" demands wholesome, pure, naturally processed, safe, organic, healthy, environmentally sound, nutritious food, that's when we'll produce it. Until then, we'll continue with our bad practices.
Is Big Ag providing "what the market demands" -- or making what it provides merely SEEM like it's what the market (grocery stores, schools, restaurants, care facilities, individual consumers) want?What market is demanding cattle that never graze?
What market is demanding tasteless tomatoes?
What market is demanding genetically modified vegetables?
Who's demanding animal cruelty and negative environmental impact from our food producers?
Big Ag supporters love to boast about increased corn production statistics, ignoring the more troubling and offensive aspects of exactly how this increase has been achieved.
The topic of #ag4all was "The Real Cost of Cheap Food". Is the food cheap, because it doesn't cost much...or is it cheap because it cheapens your body, lowering your overall health values, as you consume it?
Some fool said this: "The cheap food you speak of conveniently feeds 3/4 of the planet; it says a lot when even our poor are obese!" The poor are obese because the "cheap food" is full of fat and sugar and non-nutritive fillers that make them obese. Feeding the world a load of garbage is no claim to fame.
Only in America are the poor people overweight, fat, obese. What does this say about food grown, raised, and processed in America? Not good. When poor are fat, it means they're malnourished. They have easy, inexpensive access to what only makes them initially feel nutritionally satisfied. They seek a "full feeling" as a somatic semiotic: bloated painful feeling equals nutritive needs fulfilled.
Big Ag and Big Food business have tricked them into thinking a full stomach is a happy stomach. A full feeling means your body's cravings of hunger have been stopped.
It's like the orthodox mainstream medical profession. They see disease as a set of symptoms that have to be stopped. Get rid of the symptoms, the patient is cured. This is totally false. You should actually read the symptoms to discover the cause, the underlying issue, which is usually auto-generated: digging your own grave with your teeth as you eat noxious items posing as "good food".
The Snickers commercial is a great illustration. They show a person who is suddenly "hungry". What is really happening is her stomach is empty and now in a relatively clean, unburdened state. This enables the digestive system to start eliminating toxins and indigestible debris in the body. What the person notices is a rumbling, grumbling sound in the stomach, which they misinterpret as a cry for food.
If they would just drink water, their body could happily continue with its self-cleansing process. It doesn't necessarily need more stuff dumped into it. Wolfing down a candy bar or a plate of cookies or a bear claw pastry is probably the worst thing you could do.
But when you don't have a lot of money, and you aren't highly educated, and you have a convenient junk food shop located around the corner by the gas station, a quick fake food snack can be tempting. You can pick up another pack of cigarettes and buy an impossible-odds, hidden tax-on-the-poor lotto ticket while you're at it.
The problems of health and food are enormous and complex. But even a simple prole can tell a lie from a fact. Our body tells us what it needs. But our tastebuds align with that Snickers commercial, and we count our change, and rush out the door, compelled by Madison Avenue, to waste our funds on garbage that only temporarily makes us "feel good".
That's how the poor people in America get obese. Along with all the free food pantries, soup kitches, and missions handing out pastries, cookies, pies, and cakes, with good intentions but not so great results in a certain sector of our society.
This is the real heart of the healthcare debate but few there be that find it and talk about it. Healthcare starts with personal eating and exercise habits.
You got a food item that's not selling well? Pump a lot more sugar, corn syrup, caffeine, taurine, ginseng, chocolate, or MSG into it, jazz up the packaging, then advertise it like it's a wild drug that produces instant euphoria. Soon, the impoverished but hungry underclasses will be lining up for it. Those whose only hedonism is gluttony will cling to favorite junk, despite the onset of diabetes.
Have a celebrity or thought leader hype it, and you'll capture the appetites of the so-called elite who pride themselves as having a slight awareness of pop culture and engage in idol following as a campy absurdity.
Big Ag tells a lot of lies, but there's no denying that America is full of smart, patriotic, hard-working farmers. It's just that when family farms and local coop ventures started getting swallowed up by Big Ag businesses, it was NOT a good thing, in most respects.
One of my comments (NYGrocery is Naturally Yours on Twitter) in this thread, was: "Big Ag = increased production & profit, disregarding environment, nutrition, food safety, honest labeling." I should have added "and humane treatment of animals raised for food."
foreverflavor chimed in with "the cost of cheap food=obesity & diabetes + ruins environment and the land we live on."
Applecheekfarm said "Americans expend less than 10% in food and more than 17% on medical bills, "we R what we eat" ... cheap food= poor health.
organicNYmilk1 was a leading player in the Organic side of the debate. One remark was: "The untold cost of feeding the masses could be done cheaper with good food.....simply by eliminating the pollution it causes." Then this gem: "And I mean really, to argue that we "feed the world" is kinda skewed, right? Most of these famine stricken countries are eating rice." LOL
Read the #ag4all archives on "The Real Cost of Cheap Food" for more of last night's debate on Twitter.