|The Current Food System and its Impact.|
By Val Vanderpool
Monday, 2nd November 2009
The most basic tie that binds us—physically, culturally, and even spiritually for many—is food.
We eat, and it is an act not only of survival, but a ritual: growing, harvesting, processing, preparing, sharing food is, no matter how far removed we have become from the process, the heart of society.
Our relationship with food has changed dramatically over the last century or so. Thanks to agriculture’s modernization and resulting mechanization, many do not touch the soil that cradles the seed, hoe the competing weeds, water the nurturing roots, harvest the ripe fruits of our labor and prepare them for the table.
We no longer worry about food preservation—canning, freezing, drying, culturing, pickling, and curing. It’s all done for us, and many of us have lost the primal connection with earth and our source of nourishment. It’s convenient, and frees up our time for other endeavors, but it comes at a price.
Cultural implications aside, the current food system has countless other impacts. From environmental degradation caused by unsustainable agricultural methods, the loss of arable land and topsoil and emissions generated by transporting food from a central location, to negatively affecting local economies and food health and safety, getting food from farm to table has perhaps the most widespread impact on our planet of anything we do.
Because it is so central to human survival, fixing the problems associated with how we get our food is becoming more urgent every day. Our food system is inextricably linked to two other behemoth crises we now face: climate change and energy.
In honor of the harvest season in many climates across the globe, we bring you some pretty inspiring features to raise awareness about food and its impacts. Read about Food Footprints, Getting ‘Grounded’ for Winter Travels (recipe included!), a Sustainable Agriculture Project in Chiapas, valuing Soil Not Oil and eating a Diet For a Small Planet. Or bid on a tour to a sustainable coffee farm in Guatemala and many other responsible vacations in our Green Travel Auction.
Val Vanderpool, Editor