Thursday, October 29, 2009

Food Inc., meets Health Care reform

The movie, Food Inc., offers a big view of the American food system. Like our banking/financial system, over the last 30 years, the American food system has resulted in a few big players controlling the grand majority of the food system.

Most of us take the food system for granted. We have year-round access to every type of food imaginable at amazingly low prices. What an incredible system we are blessed with so what could be wrong with this?

What we don't see is how this food system is possible. Few of us are aware of how our food is produced. There's a wall a mile high around our food production systems and as Food Inc. shows, the bBig AG systems don't want you to know or see what's happening. Because they know if you did--you would be shocked at how this system abuses the farmers, the animals, the land and YOU. For while you might think that year-round access to all types of food at incredibly low prices benefits you, what you discover by watching Food Inc., is that you are paying a very big cost for this apparently thriving system.

In order for our food system to function as it does, you have to accept a food system that increasingly risks your safety and increasingly reduces a fresh food system to a highly processed food system that centers around just a few food items--corn, soybeans, and wheat being the big three. Big AG takes these 3 products, processes them in many different forms and voila, you have a cheap food system.

But you'll notice something else--on the way to this super efficient, high processed and super cheap food system--America has gotten incredibly fat and unhealthy. In direct correlation, you can see how, as we became ever more processed in our food system, we became ever more unhealthy. Take just one issue: Type II Diabetes. This used to be called "Adult-onset" diabetes because most people did not get this type of diabetes until late in their 40's or 50's. But now, our children are increasingly exhibiting this illness and it is reaching epidemic proportions! One in three of our children will become Type II diabetic in their lifetime.

So how cheap is our food system? Not very if you were to do a true cost accounting. Because that highly processed food system results in obesity and diabetes which costs a fortune to care for through the health care system. Have you noticed your insurance premiums going up lately? Well, this scenario guarantees that it will continue to rise for the next 30 years as more and more of our children are diagnosed with diabetes! Now, factor that cost into a cheap food system and you can see the 'beneficial' aspect of year-round access to amazingly inexpensive food disappears. Add to this the human loss of all these people having to care for Type II diabetes, how this limits their lives, impacts their families and will implode our health care system carrying these costs and a belief that we have a cheap food system requires you to live in total denial.

Last year, when the financial system collapsed--we discovered that some banks were "too big to fail" We also learned that if they're too big to fail...they're just too big. I ask you to consider this same scenario related to our food systems. Big AG controls 80-90% of the food system which makes them "too big to fail "too. Isn't it time we realized as well, that if Big AG is too big to is simply too big? You may have watched your life savings disappear when the financial system collapsed...what happens though when the Big AG system collapses? Don't wait to find out.

Anyone who reads this Life Puzzle blog knows how important a factor good nutrition is in building a whole and dynamic life. Against the challenges that this Big AG food system presents, there's still plenty you can do. Grow your own food, buy at local farmers' markets, join a CSA farm (there are now 3000 of them in the US), ask restaurants in your area to buy from local farmers and post it on their menus, join a community garden or put a garden in your own front yard! Take a step today to get yourself out of the 0-5/status quo Big AG food system. Go 6-10, take responsibilitiy and proactively take charge of your life!