“I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found. There is not a "fragment" in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” –John Muir I think food is important. I think how we get our food and from where has a direct connect to our social, spiritual and physical health. I have spent the last twenty years on a journey to re-establish myself as part and participant in the food system. Here is that journey. For me, it was all about geography: [[Ohio]] [[California]] [[Florida]] I was raised in a place where there was three traffic lights in the whole county. The scene was set with the pastoral: rolling hills, red barns and cows. It was slow and steady. What I learned in this place was radical, but I didn't know it at the time. Every year we grew a vegetable garden. We cooked our food out of whole ingredients and made crazy concoctions such as mashed potatoes, pasta sauces and salads. We ate fresh produce grown on our own soil within walking distance of our kitchen. We also grew extra produce and preserved it, either by canning or freezing, to eat later in the year. We were invested parties in the production and processing of our food. We were part of the system. What I learned from my parents, besides growing a garden, canning, eating apples right out of the tree was to live as you believe, to walk your talk. I would learn a more academic term for that concept later on down the road, when I ended up in Berkeley, [[California]]. In this amazing California city, I learned The importance of food to my overall wellbeing and that the Western Diet was not healthy. I was taught that activism was not only acceptable, it was imperative. And that voting is a must because corporations often have a negative impact on consumer well-being and have a strong influence on politicians which impact public policy. The philosophy of Berkeley, as Michael Pollan puts it, is that the “personal is political,” that the way we live our lives should be in line with our politics, that are actions should mirror our activism, and again, for the second time in my life- that we walk our talk. The I moved to the Sunshine State...[[Florida]]! Upon moving to Florida, I got pregnant and this was when I really started paying attention to what I was eating and what my offspring was eating. The research began in earnest. The political just got very, VERY personal. At the time, I did not realize that the way I fed my child would offend people, would be seen as rebellious, or that it was a political statement. I was about to find out. The [[battle lines]] had been drawn.What I soon came to learn is that every nutritional decision that I made, every choice regarding health and what I chose to allow or not allow into our bodies, involved me always, always…as in every single time…coming up against a corporation. Whether it be about breastfeeding, vaccinations, organic food, it didn’t matter. It was always me against the mainstream ideology dictated by some corporation enforced by governmental policies, corporations whose agenda was not public health but private profit. Nowhere though was this more evident to me than our food system. Luckily, both my community in [[Ohio]] and the city of Berkeley, [[California]] had trained me well. The battle came down to three specific fronts and three part system: [[Politics and Policies]], [[Farming Practices]], [[Our Citizens' Bodies]].Governmental Toxicity: In 1970 – the top 5 beef packers controlled 25% of the market. Today – the top 4 beef packers control 80% of market (Food Inc). Government agents connected to Big Farm: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas worked for Monsanto; Michael Taylor, who worked as a lawyer for Monsanto was appointed the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods . And the list goes on and on (Food Inc). FDA policies- Example: the “Veggie Libel Laws” which make it illegal to criticize the food industries’ “products” (Food Inc). Farm subsidies for commodity crops create food high in calories and low in nutrition that result in a toxic food-system for Americans. Farm subsidies led to our current industrialized farming practices that resulted in soil depletion, a dependence on petroleum based chemical fertilizer, land and water pollution, a precarious and dangerous reliance on monoculture , destruction of the bio-system needed for sustainable farming and the removal of the consumer from the farm-to-table process. [[Farming Practices]]Corporate farming practices, both in the growing fields and the slaughterhouses, are detrimental to our health and the environment. If we allow corporations to continue these unnatural practices, they could result in permanent systemic devastation of soil-plant-animal cycle. The consumer has allowed themselves to be removed from the farm-to-table system. We no longer know where our food is coming from. That has to stop. [[Our Citizens' Bodies]]Obesity- the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.  (CDC). More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) are obese (JAMA). Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese (CDC). At least 20% of adult obesity is caused by over-feeding in infancy linked to infant formula (MRC Childhood Nutrition Centre). Type II diabetes - Studies show that children born after the year 2000 will have Type II diabetes rates of 1 in 3 (Food Inc). Rank as killer-#7 (2011) (CDC) Heart disease - # of deaths: 597,689 (2010) (CDC) Rank as killer- #1 (CDC). When we are unhealthy, we become the destruction of the food corporations and the dependants of the pharmaceutical ones [[Reclaiming the Our Place in the System]]We must re-establish our rightful place as part of the system. We must limit the political power of the corporations of industrialized agriculture instead. It is possible. Example: The tobacco industry. Another food-based example: Artificial growth hormone use is greatly reducing due to consumer demand. The fact that it has to be this way is NOT a forgone conclusion. “To think we can devitalize-you can read that as disrespect- food life to this degree and then have a healthy population is insane. No civilization can be healthier than the life energy in the food it eats. And even more fundamentally, no society can be economically or ecologically healthier than the soil on which it depends. A bankrupt soil policy will create a bankrupt food system which will inevitably create a bankrupt health reality. “ - Joel Salatin [[Changes]] As members of our communities, we must demand: -More food labeling and more accurate food labeling. -More environmentally sound and ethically tolerable farming practices. -Change in city policies that restrict suburban land use from being usable for food production. Which will result in etter tasting and more nutritious food leading to better public health and well-being and a more sustainable system. [[Making a Stand]] mattersSo, for all of us, it is about location--where we choose to make our stand and with whom we choose to stand… each other or Big Farm, Big Pharma and their ilk. Parting wisdom: “If nobody can move until everybody can, we’ll never move. If we have to know every contingency before we move, we have the proverbial paralysis of analysis. The truth is that if everyone who could do what is noble and right would do it now, the cultural shift would be like an epic earthquake.” -Joel Salatin, Farmer, Virgina. [[The End]] <img src="https://noahismyhomeboy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/cow.jpg">