I’ve set aside the Border Trilogy for The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It’s a very popular book in this city and I suspect I’m only going to have it for two weeks before someone else lays claim to it! I’m sure I’m on the end of the train here but have you folks read this book? Did it blow your minds? Did it make you angry?
Within 50 pages I was just outraged at what the combination of capitalism, agribusiness and government meddling has done to the way we eat. I am outraged by the human and animal suffering that results from the way our food is produced in this country. I am outraged at the health and environmental implications of the way food is now produced and marketed in this country. I am outraged by the fact that a handful of privately-held corporations hold not only farmers but also consumers hostage with the complicity of our own government.
I’m typically a pretty laid back person but this book has really touched a nerve with me. How dare these businesses manipulate me, manipulate my food, manipulate my government? How stupid of me to allow it.
We’re making a bunch of changes to how we eat in our family. This has been an on-going project in our family that we started about a year ago. Initially, the goal was for me to lose 20 lbs but over the last year it’s morphed into something more. It’s about living the healthiest life I can. It’s about my family living the healthiest lives they can.
So what are the changes? This year we are growing a garden. We are researching local farms where we can buy grass-fed, hormone free cows and pigs and free range chicken and eggs. This month we are running an experiment, we’re eating between 2-3 vegetarian meals each week. If we consume less meat we can afford to spend more on the meat we do eat. Also, we are eliminating high fructose corn syrup.
There are other things that we’re doing to go along with these changes as well. We’re going to start worm composting this summer. Our yard is pretty small and our neighbors are really close so we don’t want to do a traditional compost pile. This seams to be a pretty decent compromise and YAY for free, organic fertilizer for the garden! We’re also looking at a hybrid vehicle this summer, we like the Ford Escape hybrid. Anything is better than the gas hog we drive though. I’m embarrassed by the amount of gas we consume.
In a few years I want to add a small flock of Buff Orpington hens for lawn fertilizer, aeration, weed and pest control and best of all….free range, organic eggs! I am not on board with eating them, Duhdee is not on board with owning them at all, so we’re still working this one out as a family. Eventually, I want a bigger garden and maybe to add either solar panels or a small wind turbine to the roof. I want to have rain barrels to collect water for the garden.
Long, LONG term (after Monkey has left school) Duhdee and I want to run a Bed & Breakfast and I intend to put all of these things into effect on a much grander scale. Bigger garden, greenhouse, raise my own chicken for meat* and eggs. Wind and solar power. You get the idea.
So, ANYWAY, if you haven’t read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, please do. It may not sound very interesting to you but give it a shot. Grab it from your local library and read the first 100 pages and see if it doesn’t leave you outraged as well.
* I know, I said before that I’m not onboard for eating them but that’s based on a couple factors. 1. I’ve picked a breed that is very tame and social. I don’t want chicken that hate people living in our small city lot. They’d be too stressed to lay eggs! 2. If they’re in a barn and not living right under foot I can keep them as animals and not pets. There’s no way Orpingtons, as social as they are, and living right under foot as they will be, will end up as anything BUT pets. Pets with tasty eggs. I told Duhdee that we shall name the first two Nugget and Eggsmerelda but no one can eat our little Nugget. Heh.