Be Aware Of Food Again

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Re: Roy Exum's "America's Soybean Wars" 

Anytime I hear the name Monsanto, I get angry. I am not fond of any farmers/growers that use Roundup either. I support the farmers who do crop rotation to avoid certain pests coming back, who practice companion planting that thwarts off certain insects and who get out there and just 'pull off the insects!'

Farmers and growers around here who may not be Big Ag farms (but a pretty healthy farm) are doing their part to try and make us a nation with less health problems caused by GMO growing. If you dig deep into the articles available you will see for yourself what GMO does. It's not good yet we still trust our government to tell us it is USDA approved and to go ahead and eat corn and soy that is genetically modified. 

If something isn't grown the way our grandparents and great grandparents did it - chances are it's not as healthy as you think and could even be causing real problems we aren’t aware of. Real farmers, growing real food is what I support. I have visited over 31 farms in the region and only one of those was a GMO farm. If we don’t support our local growers laws will eventually take over that force them out. And if we accept what is approved by the government now – only to find out later what was approved was unhealthy for us after all – our health in America will consistently decline. Did you like finding out about “pink slime?” How many more things are we being fooled by?

Childhood obesity, young boys and girls with early puberty, cancers and autism are things we need to wake up about. Don’t just accept that ‘it just happens’ or take a pill (approved by the government) that ‘helps’ the illness. Stop putting foods that come from a laboratory in our bodies. We have one body. We – at this point, have control over what we put in it. Yes, it is hard to find food that doesn’t come out of a box or that is not grown with chemicals or to buy meat that has not been raised with hormones and unnatural ways for “big business” --- that is, if you just want to go down the aisles of your supermarket and put things in your cart and be done. But if we make an effort of where to buy, we can educate ourselves and it gets easier.

You think because you chose “fat-free” or “fresh produce” that you are eating healthy? We need to ask questions. Where was it grown? How was it grown? And how will that affect my body and my family’s bodies? Just because a box says organically grown doesn’t mean you can take that to the bank. There are so many marketing gimmicks that get us to believe we are doing what is best. But think back to the day of the Waltons. Food didn’t come from a box, it did not come from a spray… it came from the ground, it came from healthy animals and it came from the hard work of a farmer – not a big Ag corporation who doesn’t care about your health.

There are many farmers in the region around us who offer CSA’s (Community Support Agriculture) and you can have a farmer to already have your items you need each week ready for you to pick up. Our farmers are making it as easy for us as they can and, many travel miles to bring it to us each week. I have been up on the mountain of Rising Fawn and met the Persingers, and Curtis and Letty Smith who bring fresh chemical-free produce and meats - their hard work, to Chattanooga each week at the Wednesday Main Street Market. We have the Chattanooga Market as well.

Many farmers and growers are willing to educate us - we have taken health for granted as we pop pills for pain or convenience. Our health can be magnificently changed for the better just in eating the right foods. Not just in lying off high cholesterol or fatty foods, but finding out where it comes from and how it was grown. Many farmers I met are not the uneducated poor dirt farmer – they are retired physicians, attorneys and business men and women. 

Mark and Gina from Tant Hill Farm have an abundance of knowledge on how the chemically laden foods harm our health and Mark Tant keeps a Facebook page sharing this with us all. The Tants also bring good foods to the Main Street market. Many farmers such as Eagle Rest, and many others sell to local restaurants who bring good, fresh food from organically practiced farms. My son has even gotten in on raising chickens and the eggs are so good.  I know his chickens have been raised in a natural setting and not injected with hormones. Taste Buds is a magazine you will find all around Chattanooga, listing the farmers and growers where you can get this untainted food from. Gaining Ground is educating the community and giving us information we need.

Did you know that you have a farm here in Chattanooga? Crabtree Farms is the property of Tennessee.  They let kids come out and pick vegetables from the garden and make their own salad – kids learn food doesn’t come from a box. There are many, many organizations shedding light on the importance of growing local and eating local. Many growers are people just like you and me – who are on a mission for better health. Chattanooga’s local food movement is getting bigger and bigger. 

Almost everything we eat from a box derives from corn or soy products that are made in big Ag farms that use GMO practices. What is so bad about corn and soy? Aren’t those vegetables that are healthy for us? Read. Read where it comes from, how it’s grown and how it affects your health. And for God’s sake… support your local farmers before we lose them. I see big money, big government taking over our family life and we may be forced one day to live sustainably ‘against the law’. I hope not – but if we don’t wake up, living sustainable will become harder and harder as we continue to support the Big Ag groups and not our farmers. We will become dependent on food-like substance from a box and from foods grown with the help of a laboratory and we will see more diseases and disorders popping up.

I am on a low-budget and cannot afford to stay out of the supermarket and only buy organic. I am guilty of grabbing a protein bar on the go because I didn’t have time to make it myself or find a farmer. But we even have Load de Bars made locally in Chattanooga for that healthy, organic, and quick, on-the-go meal replacement or energy snack.  Many of us can’t illuminate all those processed foods, but if we take baby steps and educate ourselves, and make an effort to find the farmers markets, join a CSA and be aware of food again… it’s a step in the right direction.
Jen Jeffrey

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