seekinghaven (seekinghaven) wrote,

"Give us this day our daily bread..." : Food, Part I

I've changed my mind.  Before we can write about the Primal Oblation, we must first write about food. 

All life feeds on life. With few exceptions, the destruction of a life or potential life is necessary for another life to feed and sustain itself.  All life, sooner or later, gives itself through death to life -- at least, I'm having a hard time thinking of any exception to the rule that all living things die and their bodies feed the Earth and other living things. 

We humans must eat to live.  Further, we must eat well to be healthy -- either the lack of proper nutrition or the presence of toxins in our intake can and will impair us, weaken, sicken, even kill us.  It has also become abundantly apparent that we don't do well with excess intake relative to our needs, at least not in the long run -- although that was not much of a problem for our species until recent times, and that in only certain places (like the USA, for example.)  

We are omnivores who evolved to adapt and survive in the face of food scarcity, at least relative to modern industrial society standards.  Perhaps it is more accurate to say that in the past, although food was often abundant, we had to expend more calories to acquire it.  In our prehistoric past, food was harder to come by, but better in quality of nutrition. 

Beginning as hunter-gatherers, then pastoralists, in time we became agriculturalists.  That was not necessarily a good move on our part, judging from the consequences over time.  But that is what happened. 

Over the great arc of human existance to date, we went from a human culture wherein almost everybody was involved in gathering and producing food, to systems where fewer and fewer people were responsible for producing the food that we all need to survive.  We also went from obtaining and/or growing food very locally, to systems where food is obtained from farmers who are ever farther and farther away. 

These trends have become so extreme in modern western industrial societies that few farmers remain, andmost farming would hardly be recognized as such by farmers of even a couple of centuries ago.  Many of our monoculture, fossil fuel dependent agribusiness farms control vast regions of land that are functionally food deserts to the people who live there.  This fact is more than an extreme irony -- it is also a great, perhaps deadly peril. 

Very few of us in the western industrialized world grow any of our own food anymore.  Instead, we go to a store -- often a big national chain store -- and buy our food.  If I recall correctly, in western industrialized mainstream diet, the food has travelled an average of around 2000 miles to get to our plates.  A great deal of its increasing monetary cost is attributable to fossil fuels used to grow it, harvest it, transport it, process it, package it, and transport it again.

Further, the nutritional value of the food grown by modern agribusiness is significantly less than it used to be.  The calories may be the same (or higher) but there's a significant reduction of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients -- and flavor.  If I recal correctly, modern agribusiness crops are about 30% less nutritious than those grown in the 1950s and earlier.

To add insult to injury,  both plant and animal foods today carry far more toxins and suspects substances than prior to the rise of industrialized farming. 

I could go on, but I don't feel a need here to repeat all the reasons why we need (as part of preparing for and adapting to global warming, peak oil, etc.) to return to local production of our food, grown sustainably. 

Certainly, food is a basic human need that must be met, and so we must plan for how to meet our food needs at Haven.

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