I love and live the topic of food! I am a mother of 3 kids with a big age span…25, 11, and 7! As a parent, we pay attention to what foods we must/do provide for our family. This has given me a glimpse of the massive change in food availability and production over the course of two decades. Where we live in the Midwest, food production has rapidly moved from family farms to corporate farm. We have seen most family farms go out of business or sell out to larger corporate farms. While while we are seeing an upsurge of farmers markets and a push to buy local and organic, the ingredients of the foods we are offered have shifted to be chemically laden or based. This has been prompted by the decisions of the chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto to invest not only in chemicals for industrial use, but also chemicals for agricultural use.
It is telling when the number one importer of soybeans in America is Monsanto and it comes from Latin America shipper, Dow Chemical (my former career was a global rep for ocean carriers/logistics firms..Dow/Monsanto both my clients).
Despite the negative health effects (known and unknown) in chemically based foods, parents continue to grab massively produced food of the shelves and through drive through windows to give their children. I think yes, it’s a matter of convenience, but in a world where both mom and dad are working, it’s also as a matter of survival. Parents are not generally aware of the harms of processed foods and the big agra/food giants spend much money ensuring that this information is not readily available to consumers. Very few studies about chemicals in food ever make it to the mainstream. What does come through are the parents raising concerns and sharing studies and information through social media, which are always then reduced to illegitimate by the food industry.
For our family, my husband and I work very hard to buy organic wherever possible and eat out very little, especially with our children. I send our children off with home-packed lunches daily, consisting of fruits, vegetables, and organic cookies or similar. I am not opposed to sugar in small amounts…but very opposed to chemicals in any amount.
Fortunately, it seems that our choices at the markets are improving, although I question the validity of the “organic” label when companies like Nestle, Kraft, and others are buying up the smaller organic brands. Do I believe they will have a sudden shift in reasoning and agenda to keep those foods wholly organic? Not at all. Do I believe they will use their power and influence in Washington to skirt the inspections or change the organic regulations to meet their own profit-driven agendas? Absolutely.
My hope is quelled by the heavy hand of multi-national corporate wealth and weak oversight boards that are staffed by former industry leaders. I wish had something better to say about it and more to say other than “grow your own food”. I would love not to have to pack lunches every day 😉