Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Food Fight

A few years before Girlie was born, I started catching on to the whole organic food movement. I remember being completely horrified that our fruits and vegetables were allowed to be drenched in pesticides and our meats were treated with dangerous fillers and medicines. It didn't seem to make sense that the amount of yucky stuff on our food had actually increased over the course of my lifetime. Though not a zealot, I considered myself to be an environmentally conscious consumer and started thinking about what I was buying. I wasn't always convinced that it was going to harm my own health (I mean the food growers wouldn't go that far, would they?), but I cared about the earth and I did it more for the general good than my own.

At the time, organic wasn't mainstream and you could only to go to a specialty store to get it. We were living in a smallish town in South Carolina but it was a fairly progressive one, and close to Asheville, North Carolina, so there were two organic markets. I could get fresh organic breads, local meats, and seasonal veggies pretty easily and I brought my own bags.

I felt like such a hippie.

Eventually, we moved back to Georgia, to another smallish but not so progressive town. There wasn't an organic grocer, but luckily the larger stores began picking up on the trend, so I made due. By then, the data was starting to come out about how the non-organic stuff was harmful to consume and it made me angry that the broccoli that I was feeding my kid, for her good health, might actually be damaging her growing body. I started getting my vegetables delivered from a farm. I couldn't get fresh bread or cleaning products, but at least I could get milk and eggs, even though I was basically shopping two aisles at the end of the store. Over time, larger companies started jumping in and by and large I was able to fill our fridge with what we needed, though it wasn't easy. Then I started noticing that it was becoming a little trendy among certain groups to buy green.

I bought organic mustard and felt like such a yuppie.

Then we moved to Phoenix on a single income and I started getting a little obsessed with the budget. Do I really need a $6 box of organic cereal? Am I just doing this because it is the hip thing to do? Are these just the trappings of a liberal yuppie, along with my crumpled Sunday New York Times and my (company owned) Prius? Does all of this stuff really have to be organic?

I regressed.

So I feed my family fairly healthy foods. We aren't big on processed stuff around here. You won't find Doritos or sodas in my pantry. You won't find hot dogs or Capri-Sun packets in my fridge. Or Lunchables or those disgusting pre-made PB&J sandwiches in my kids lunch boxes (have you ever read the labels on those things, they look like a science experiment). But you might find a $4 whole chicken or a package of inexpensive rib eyes.

And yesterday I found out, what I probably already knew, but was choosing to ignore, at least for a little while. While Hubs was with the kids, I spent a few hours in a dark (and cool) theater watching a movie that has renewed my vigilance.

The corn by-products in everything, the soy fillers monopolized by one company, the meats processed in giant filthy slaughterhouses, all that cheap stuff really costs a great deal.

So go see it, and get ready to fight. Liberal, conservative, hipsters and mainstreamers, we all deserve better than this.


latisha said...

excellent review!

Lisa said...

thanks for coming to the movie- my shopping cart will never look the same!

Sae said...

Don't ever think you can't start a movement with excellent posts like this one. I say this not just as someone who agrees - I really think that a considering, questioning view is the best approach regarding all big companies and profit oriented sectors. You stepped back and educated yourself, considering all sides, and then, most importantly (of course) - your conclusion was really well worded!