So this past spring I read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and have currently turned to Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. While both of these books are thoroughly researched and definitely biased, I find it fascinating the extent to which the food industry is detached from our lives and impossibly opaque.
What is Agriculture?
I know we've all heard of the organic movement (buying organic produce/meats/coffee/tea) and the locavore movement (buying products made within x miles of where you live), both of which take on a keen awareness of food production, but I find that as educated as I am on nutrition, I barely know the first thing about farming and agriculture.
Alright I could probably tell you that a potato grows in the ground and oranges on trees, but that's about the extent of it. I don't know that understanding farming or agriculture could help to change our nation's food choices in the grocery store but both authors seem to push the idea that increasing the transparency of the process could lead to healthier choices.
A Little Challenge
Can you name one food item that you've eaten today where you know it's true origin and entire journey to your plate? Did you grow it in your backyard? Do you know a local farmer and get it from their stand at a farmer's market? Can you even name the country your salad vegetables were grown in? An array of them I'm sure...
Now I'm not suggesting you overhaul your eating and purchasing habits... just try to break through some of the opacity of our food supply chain. Maybe, like me, you'll even get to learn a little about gardening and agriculture in the process.