Recently, I was part of a conversation on Facebook regarding the popular ‘meatless Monday’ idea. I use the term ‘conversation’ loosely, as we all know how conversations on Facebook can be.
A popular movie, Food, Inc. had posted on their Facebook page about what going ‘meatless’ for one day could do. The article was from the popular site ‘Upworthy’. Among their reason for going meatless for one day are helping the environment, saving animals and being healthy. According to Upworthy, no meat on Mondays would save 1.4million animals from being factory farmed if EVERY did it….that’s right, if EVERYONE didn’t eat meat.
Sounds good right? All those little piggies and cowsies (I made that up just now) being saved. And being healthier for you…who doesn’t want to be healthier, right?
But, I think meatless Monday misses the bacon…ummm…point.
First off, you are NEVER going to get everyone to NOT eat meat. I’m sorry, I’m as passionate about good food as any other self-proclaimed foodie….but it aint gonna happen. People like their meat…and people DO NOT like being told what to do.
Second, I don’t think it’s really going to save anything…because everyone is just going to go back to their McDonald’s and Factory Farmed Bacon tomorrow.
The problem is bigger than one day of not eating meat. The problem is so many faceted it’s hard to even get it all down. Industrial farming, food waste, government subsides, un-education, overeating, chemical laden food that doesn’t satisfy.
People eat too much…it’s a fact. The average American is 17lbs overweight and 2/3 are overweight or obese. We eat more than we should and what we eat isn’t what we should be eating. Processed crap; laden with chemicals and loaded with sugar.
We waste so much food. Approximately 40% of the food in the US is thrown out, around 33million tons. Where does that go? Mostly into a landfill.
I don’t even know where to start with industrial farming…it’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for you and me and it’s BAD for the product that’s derived from it. Industrial farming strips the land of its precious tops soil, loads it with chemicals, reduces the nutrition of the veg or animals produced and uses boatloads of fossil fuels.
Government subsidies….oh boy, I mean what’s more American than having this government pay somebody to grow a certain something…oh, and FYI…the money they use to pay that guy come directly from YOUR paycheck. Government subsidies make the prices of meat and vegetable unnaturally low. You really think that chicken you’re buying can really be grown and processed for $.49/lb? Or it only takes $.99 of input to grow that bunch of radishes?
So, what’s the answer? Honestly…I don’t think there is just one. Stop eating so much, eat better, KNOW what you’re eating, support local non-industrial agriculture, become educated on what it takes to farm and not kill the planet while we’re at it.
I know organic (natural food, not some USDA stamped food) is more expensive, it’s the REAL cost of food. Most small farmers TRY to make it affordable for you…I promise. Most of us have off-farm jobs just to help with living costs. Strive to support them…even if it’s just one small portion of your total food consumption. Maybe work to only buy your veg from a farmers market or local farm. Or treat yourself once a week to pastured chicken. Or maybe see if a farm near you offers work-shares.
Make a pact to NOT support industrial agriculture in any way possible. No fast food, no processed packaged crap. Buy from a co-op and buy fresh. (Stay tuned for ways I feed my family on the cheap).
And, most importantly, Pay attention…pay attention to farmers, and to the farm bill and water. KNOW what’s going on in your country and county and town. Be AWARE.