Tuesday, January 8, 2013

King Corn Rules Over All of Us

We just watched the documentary King Corn about two young men who grown corn the conventional way on one acre of Iowa land. That acre and all the other acres of corn in the US are mostly used to feed livestock and produce high fructose corn syrup, not to feed people corn. They would not want to anyways since the corn they are growing is GMO and tastes terrible, like sawdust. And the processed corn products are in just every food found at the supermarket, fast food restaurants, and gas stations of America. The farmers are so efficient at growing corn that they don’t seem to work very often. Since the technology has advanced so much, the farmers have big tractors and combines to do the work in a relatively short amount of time compared to yesteryear. 

The biggest take home message I saw in the film is how humanity has done an excellent job of creating huge yields of crops, that has lowered food prices a great amount, but this is all been done at huge expenses to society and the environment. Society loses with markedly lower nutritional content in the foods produced. The corn produced today has lower nutrition than the native corn originally found in the Americas that had higher protein content. Also, the way the corn is highly processed into high fructose corn syrup and other products means no nutrition and more sugar and calories in the American diet. It really is no wonder that there is an epidemic of obesity in this country with the abundance of cheap, high sugar, high calorie, and low nutrition foods, all created by the simple allowance of industrial agriculture by the federal government. Yes! The federal government has created the obesity of our nation! 

The environment loses because of the industrial farms that create massive soil erosion. Furthermore, these farms spray huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides on their crops every year polluting the air, water, and soil. Also, GMO are inherently toxic killing bees, butterflies and other insects. And, in the design of these mega farms all impediments are wiped away to make them more efficient. This means fewer trees, native meadows, or other natural areas. Wildlife has less and less space to live. The combination of these practices can be seen in the toxic topsoil washing down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. This has created a dead zone in the gulf where nothing lives. 

Now let me ask you, is this the direction we want to be going in? Is this the legacy we want to leave our grandchildren? I say No! It is time to wake up from the corn syrup fog and come to our senses. The industrial agriculture is not sustainable and will not last forever because it will have destroyed the environment, all wildlife, and us humans way before then. This is not progress! We are simply digging our own grave. It can only function from the subsidies from the federal government. I, as a taxpayer, do not want to fund this destructive industry anymore. We must stop it now and return to sustainable agriculture that is beneficial to the environment, to wildlife, and to humans. 

 So what is sustainable agriculture, you might ask? It is how we farmed before the arrival of tractors and petroleum derived fertilizers. It is now called organic farming. It requires more manual labor, but that is fine since people need jobs in this country. And it may mean higher prices, but it actually means paying the true cost of that food, rather than an artificially lower price. Even better than organic is growing food through permaculture methods, that employs such methods as forest farming and nutrient cycling. Permaculture works with nature to create the healthiest and most productive crops. 

And I further believe that everyone should be taught in school how to grow food at the school’s vegetable garden and orchards. We all can learn how to be more self sufficient and grow food locally rather than relying on the supermarket’s food from far away. Or purchase food from your local farmers’ markets, especially organic farmers. Eating less meat will mean less grains and pasture land will be used just to feed animals, creating more food for humans and wildlife. 

All of these measures will encourage the creation of a healthy and sustainable food supply for all of us! In fact, the only way that we may survive on this planet is creating sustainable agriculture since agriculture has the biggest impact and is the biggest land use around the world. Look out the window of an airplane and you will see what I mean. 

Thank You and Make Today a Wonderful Day!
Roland and Naoko’s Websites:
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