Faithful Farming

I was sent a link to this article recently. It gives me great cheer to read such things. It has been a weight on my heart that organic food is so expensive and that until the last couple of years was relegated to specialty stores. As someone whose income has been hovering around the poverty line (both intentionally and unintentionally) for years it saddens me that the poorer you are the harder it is to get organic and/or responsibly grown food.

I would eat completely different if I could afford it. But between cost and convenience, I haven't eaten as well as I would like in a long while. I say cost and convenience because organic products are more available at major grocery stores these days but locally grown food is still often relegated to farmers markets--which I love but rarely have the time to get to. Time is a big issue for those of us living paycheck to paycheck...I don't have time to eat, much less go to special venues for food.

However, now that grocery stores are offering more organic types of foods sometimes you can get good deals on it. And I keep telling myself the more we buy at the regular grocery the more we can convince someone that this is a viable market and maybe one day we can bring the prices down...though now that I think about it, this point may be mute as it seems regular groceries are costing more and more each week.

What most stuck me about the article though was that it was religious groups leading the way for these more ethical farming practices. It isn't just about whether to go organic or not but that there needs to be more mindfulness of the whole product. The treatment of the workers and the animals needs to be ethical. These are not new concepts for people of faith. The Catholic Worker has had ties to farms throughout its existence.

The combination of faith to bring about ethical farming practices (doing right by the workers, the animals, and the plants) and my undying hope that through continually trying to make organic and whole foods more available on an equal scale to over-processed foods, will one day lead to a level buying field between such products gives me great joy after reading the article.

Another point in this article to reflect on is that sometimes fundamentalism may not be a bad thing...though I would like to think of it more as a Conservatism...as it manifests Conservative Quakers.

So what say you, faithful readers?


RichardM said...

shortly after I finished my doctorate I arranged to have the person who had oversight of the animals used in the labs at Rutgers talk to my ethics class about ethical issues in the use of animals. He was a veterinarian who had mostly worked with farm animals before going the academic route. He spoke of how conditions began to change very strongly on farms after WWII. It was at that point that people evidently stopped thinking of the animals as actual feeling creatures and started looking at them "scientifically." That is to say, they stopped being concerned with the animals comfort and started to think exclusively of each animal as a meat producing unit. How to convert feed into meat in the shortest possible time became the only question that mattered. And with it came a dramatic decrease in the quality of life these animals got to live.

Capitalism's drive for "efficiency" (measured solely in terms of profit not in terms of real values) is the most powerful force at work in the world today. It will take the conscious efforts of billions of us to tame this monster.

Nancy A said...

I used to think it would take too much time and money to eat local food. But it's surprising how easy it is. You get to like it. It becomes part of the rhythm of the week.

For a while I was buying organic from the local supermarket. But then I noticed things like organic garlic from China. Now, really, can we not find garlic any closer than China? And am I supposed to believe that it's really organic? And how good is all this transportation for a planet clogged with greenhouse gases? So now I don't bother with organic unless it's local.

It has helped me to think of buying and eating food as a form of prayer, kind of like ramadan for the muslims. That makes food holy, makes the body a temple, puts people and lives and the health of the planet ahead of a rush lifestyle.