Spring buds under gray spring sky
I had an experience this morning that kind of got my panties in a bunch, so to speak. When I dropped Rafe off at preschool, I asked his teacher if she’d like me to bring baby chicks in for the class to see. And without going into the whole conversation, the short answer was, no, because of avian flu concerns and immunization concerns, etc. But some pictures of the chicks would be okay.
Before I go on, I want to make it very clear that I am not upset with the teacher. I’m not faulting her at all. She’s a dear woman who does a wonderful job trying to prepare these little people for kindergarten, teach them some manners, and bring a Christian perspective to it all. I feel for her, and all of the government mandates that she has to try and work under.
But it got me to thinking about society in general, and it seems like we’re afraid of the wrong things. We’re afraid of baby chicks, God’s creatures, of avian flu which has never yet manifested on this continent. But we happily gobble down corn chips made with GMO-corn. Or lunch meat with laboratory-produced bacteria sprayed on it. And probably soon, meat and milk from cloned animals.
We’re letting the government tell us what to be afraid of, and what not to be afraid of. And who is the government these days? Sadly, not our elected representatives but those with the money to influence those representatives. How much of Monsanto’s budget do you think goes to lobbying efforts to keep their products in the food chain?
I’m sure I’m not the only one, at least in this blog’s readership, that’s more afraid of what a food chain comprised of genetically modified organisms, so-called “good” bacteria, and cloned animals is doing to our bodies than of a baby chick. And I’m sure I’ll be labeled the odd girl out, a hippie, and just plain un-American because of it.
But why do we need bacteria sprayed onto our hot dogs and lunch meat? Because we are so far removed from our food source. Someone else is making our food for us. Someone else that we will never meet. Is it any wonder that people don’t trust each other anymore? The person making our hot dogs doesn’t have to see us on the street, look us in the eye, and assure us that they took every proper safety precaution at their job that day.
The person that drove the truck carrying those hot dogs to the store doesn’t have to see us on the street, look us in the eye, and assure us that the truck was properly refrigerated that day and the hot dogs went immediately from refrigerated truck to refrigerated case.
Unlike our local meat locker, these people’s jobs do not depend on the consumers being happy (and healthy) from their products.
In typical government style, we won’t fix the problems in the food supply chain. Or better yet, encourage local food systems. We’ll just spray bacteria on the food, a bandaid to cover up the problem and make the unthinking consumer feel safe. And best of all, they don’t even have to tell us what we’re actually eating. There is no requirement that foods made from GMO’s or clones, or foods sprayed with bacteria, be labeled as such.
Do you think it’s because they’re afraid we won’t buy their food if we know the truth?
But we who direct market food do see our customers on the street, do have to look them in the eye. We feel a responsibility to our customers to provide nourishing food, safe food, with integrity and honesty and complete transparency.
More than angry, it makes me sad. Sad that there will be children growing up having never held a baby chick. Another generation, now even further removed from the source of their food than the last. Only experiencing farm animals in pictures.
I called Matt at work and told him about the exchange. His response? “That’s why we have to keep on doing what we’re doing.”
Those of you who are already our customers know you have a standing invitation to visit the farm, get up close and personal with the animals. Now I extend that invitation to any others of you reading this blog. We get baby chicks in April and August. Bring the kids out to cuddle them. Or yourself – have you held a baby chick? During the months of May and September you can come check out our protected free-range system of raising the broiler chickens on pasture. And there’s always a pig here needing a scratch behind the ears, or cattle to just stand around and admire.