I believe that subsidizing massive monoculture crops is the same as subsidizing tobacco. I believe this because both of these items kill. It just takes a long time to do it. It is difficult to link the food we eat and the disease process in our bodies because of the length of time required to develop those signs and symptoms. It is also difficult to see the connection when the community of “experts” (allopathic Doctors and scientist) allow you to believe that disease is of a genetic nature. The simple fact is that most diseases that our (United States) health system deals with are preventable. Therefore a vast majority of the money spent on disease is preventable.
How are these diseases prevented? By choosing healthier lifestyle habits. There are simple lifestyle choices you can make in order to live a healthy life. I discovered these written out in a great book called Pottenger’s Prophecy. They make sense intuitively and the book presents well written and researched evidence for these steps. One of the steps includes eating fresh non GMO foods and not as many calories (especially empty calories). This is because empty calories lead to metabolic disease and inflammation which then lead other major chronic diseases which are common in the Standard American Diet. Two others include exercise and stress management.
As we all know empty calories are easy to come by. They are inexpensive and found everywhere. Any soda, processed food or fast food is going to be full of inexpensive empty calories. These calories present themselves as food and for a large portion of the population these calories exist as the primary food source. Do you know why these calories are so inexpensive compared to local organic produce? It is because in 1971 Earl Butz decided to change their policy in order to promote the growing of as much food as possible. This led to food surpluses (which ensured food for hungry Americans and the world). The US government in turn gave subsidies to the farmer’s due to the decrease in the sale price of the crop. Therefore the federal government purposely created a program where they paid farmers to grow as much food as possible so that we may store that food for future use. Of course the corps used were the main grains of the day which are easily stored. Corn and Soy being the mainstays. With all of these extra food stuffs lying around and no one eating them, the food companies decided to make other items out of them. Therefore High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was created among other items. The food companies also add these items in as fluff in nearly every processed food on the shelves today. We also decided to use these foods as feed for our animals instead of raising them on their traditional diet of grass.
The USDA also promoted a grain based diet as a healthy diet around this time as well. This we now know to be incorrect and the food pyramid should look more like this. This alone is extremely harmful to the human body. It also coincides with what the USDA was telling people to grow. The federal government and the food companies have a long history of working together. Here’s a quick look at recent Monsanto/Federal government connections. With the food company involvement GMO seeds have become a huge portion of the monoculture crops grown. These GMO crops have many of their own issues. One of the issues is the glysophate in the crops. Glysophate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. The problem with glysophate is that it is a metal chelator. Therefore many of the nutrients that are required by the human body are unable to be absorbed due to the glysophate in Monsanto’s Roundup.
While the current issues that we face today were not intended or foreseen by the farm bill it has become clear that the subsidizing of massive monoculture crops is the same as subsidizing tobacco. It is clear that the massive increase in easily obtained cheap empty calories has been the primary cause of preventable disease in the Standard American Diet. Furthermore these calories appear to be artificially cheap compared to their counterparts due to the subsidization.
So what is the answer? How do we save the US with one simple policy shift? To me it appears simple and clear. At the very least you stop subsidizing massive monocultures and start promoting local healthy varied organic produce. What would this do for the US in brief?
1. Provide a healthier base of food for our citizens. An organic properly raised food diet is the basis of a healthy diet. This has been proven through epigenetics.
2. Dramatically cut down on petroleum use therefore increasing our national security. The US imports approx 70% of its oil and we use approx 19% of that oil solely for agricultural purposes. From petroleum based pesticides to the transportation of those food items. That means that if we were able to decrease the use of petroleum on our foods then we could dramatically decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Therefore we would increase our national security.
3. Increase local jobs by breaking up the food monopoly and requiring more individuals to participate in the food system. By breaking down the massive monoculture farms that only a few people run with massive machinery we would be able to provide jobs for a much greater amount of individuals. More individuals could own farms and those individuals would have to hire others to assist on the farm. They did it in Cuban during the Cuban Special Period with great success.
4. Increase awareness of food by bringing food sourcing closer to the individual. Individuals will become more aware of food and the consequences of food choices in their lives through the necessity of cooking with fresh foods.
5. Increase community through collective farming techniques. Community can be increased through the family approach to eating fresh food and the necessity to shop/barter at local farmers markets and neighbors. Communities will be forced to interact with each other at a greater level.
6. Decrease healthcare costs through healthier inputs into the body and increased physical fitness. Healthcare costs would be decreased by decreasing the amount of preventable disease. Through the decrease in preventable disease you would have less of a population that was passing through the system therefore healthy individuals would not have to subsidize the individuals with preventable chronic disease.
7. Increased empowerment of individuals who take charge of their lives instead of simply believing that these chronic diseases are genetic and therefore forced upon the patient. The psychological effects of having the ability to take care of oneself can be dramatic.
8. Increase food security by (1) eliminating the just in time shipping paradigm of American grocery stores and (2) more importantly eliminating food deserts. Communities would have increased food security by having their own crops developing for them on a regular basis as well as eliminating food deserts by bringing the food to the individuals yard. Individuals would also return to the previous norms of canning and fermenting foods. Fermenting foods having the added bonus of being healthy for you as well. This is an interesting article about how food systems (Just in time or saving grain) have historically been unable to stave off mass starvation.
9. Increased awareness of holistic nature of our world and greater concern for the environment. It is my belief that through ones connection to food individuals would be forced to look at the world in a more holistic nature in terms of ethics. With this greater awareness I believe that there could be a reconnection between individuals and the earth.
10. Greater individual freedom and liberty by decrease the necessity of government oversight and control.