Monday, October 29, 2012

Fantasy v. Reality - Food

Harvest fuit and veg.
How could the growing and harvesting of fruits and vegetables be anything but good and healthy?  The problem is the modern technology and industrial farms that we've become dependent upon in the last two generations.  Agricultural runoff, which includes artificial fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides has wreaked havoc on our environment.  
Jane Lubchenco.
This graphic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration highlights the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  Hypoxic zones are areas in water with low oxygen content where marine life cannot be supported.  A New York Times article points out that the Gulf of Mexico has world's second largest man-made coastal hypoxic zone as a result of fertilizer runoff from agricultural states along Mississippi River.  These chemicals move down the river and dump out into the Gulf, damaging the ecosystem that supports marine life.

This post doesn't begin to touch on the injustice that is pervasive in farming - I've only covered eggs, chocolate, and coffee.  Much of the food that we eat is grown and harvested using slave labor overseas or migrant workers in this country.  In the U.S., migrant workers are exempt from the basic protections of law, such as workers' compensation, minimum wage, collective bargaining, even OSHA regulations.

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