I received this gut wrenching, heart felt comment, in response to my Blog “Manitobans’ Don’t Care Where Their Food Comes From”. May I also add…it is also from another Manitoban, like myself. This lady says it like it is. Please read on!
“A few years ago I was selling garden veggies at a local farmer’s market and had a similar experience to yours. A woman held up my bunch of half a dozen beets (about the size of mandarin oranges) with lovely fresh leaves on them and said scornfully “A dollar, for that?” I guess she didn’t check the price at any of the grocery stores or she would have known what a good deal she was getting (she didn’t buy them). Anyone who gardens knows the work involved in a few beets, from the tilling, sowing, endless weeding, then pulling, washing, picking out all those black thready bits, bunching, packing everything up and driving it all 20 miles into town, all the time lugging crates of heavy produce around from garden to hose, to sorting table, to truck and finally onto the tables for customers to buy. I remember feeling very hurt at that comment.
Interestingly, I never had a single complaint about the prices of the perennials and ornamental plants I was also selling. I really should thank her, I suppose, because I soon learned to focus on the ornamentals instead, and made a much better profit for my efforts compared to selling veggies.
I feel it is the sad truth that the great majority of people truly do not care where their food comes from, as long as it is cheap. Truth is, most people don’t even know what questions they should be asking, never mind what the answers might be. It doesn’t help that our government appears to be in the pockets of the big processors, even allowing them to deceive consumers with such poor labeling. Most of us know how many names there are for MSG, because this is something the companies don’t want us to recognize. Why is there not legislation requiring all labeling to use a single name? The only answer is that our government is a partner in the deception.
Measuring precisely how much of what ingredients are in their final Do you know that canned and bottled foods don’t need to list 2% of the ingredients in the container? What if the 2% is strychnine? Or more realistically, what if it is wheat, being consumed by a celiac, or fructose or peanut residue for people with intolerances? This kind of loose labeling is not tolerated in most European countries and should not be allowed here. Processors with equipment capable of measuring precisely what combinations of additives will make a particular food taste “good” to their target market, are also capable of how much of what ingredients are in their final product.
Protection for the bullies in the food processing arena is the name of the game for government. They’ve already usurped the term “organic” and attached so many rules and regulations that no small producer could afford the costs involved with being able to legally use that term. And the big guys are continually lobbying to dilute the restrictions involved in the legal definition of “organic” to allow them to do things with our food that no small producer would ever have done, before the right to proclaim his product “organic” was stolen from him by his own government. The final indignity is expecting us all to believe that these things are done solely for the protection of the consumer.
Here’s a quote from former U.S. president Ronald Reagan:
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are:
” I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”— Ronald Reagan
Until our own government gets behind the little guy and at least gives him a level playing field with the big boys, we will all be diminished by fewer and fewer choices about everything that affects our lives. Between the massive corporations who are only looking out for their own interests, and the government which also preoccupies itself with looking out for their interests, ordinary people have little recourse but to eat the manipulated “food-like substances” of the big grocery outlets, to take the medications produced by self-serving and self testing big pharmaceutical corporations, to accept the horrendous levels of waste in both our environment and our governments, and to do it all while paying levels of taxes that would have appalled people of just a couple of generations ago.
Things can be made to change, but it will never come from government of it’s own accord. I am old enough to remember the tremendous changes made by Ralph Nader in forcing manufacturers to make our vehicles safer, and what we need now is another Ralph Nader to get a firm rein on our food industries.
In the meantime all of us who are aware and care need to maintain our own personal convictions about what is sustainable, ethical and necessary and live our values and try, gently, to influence others. The most powerful way we can influence this situation is by simply not buying the products.
Another favorite quote: “Any close and worthwhile contact with the earth tends to make one original or at least detached in one’s judgments and independent of group control.”—L.H. Bailey
I’ll step down off my soapbox now, and thank you for the opportunity to sound off, Mandy! My apologies for being so long-winded. Think I’ll go and start some more seeds now…”