Covid19: Shedding Light on Food That Matters
Fact: The average American shops for food every fourth day.
Fact: It is estimated that the average meal travels over 1,500 miles to get from farm to plate.
We as consumers support food production practices with what we buy. Our purchases tell the market what we want more of. By purchasing food that is grown elsewhere, that does not support our local farm and ranch families, we set the system up for the empty shelves we are seeing today. The empty grocery store shelves are a clear indicator that consumers as a whole have been supporting a food system that is more fragile than our local food supply can and should be, and that has led to a decrease in consumer confidence.
Not only are consumers not confident in the supply, but according to Gabe Brown at Understanding Ag, “that food supply is also failing their health. The nutrient density of the food produced in the industrialized, commoditized model has decreased in nutrient density anywhere from 15-65 percent in the last 50 years. A person today would have to eat twice as much meat, three times as much fruit and four times as many vegetables to get the same nutrients and minerals, as compared to the same food in 1940.”
Think about that, twice as much meat, three times as much fruit and four times as many vegetables to get the same nutrients and minerals, as compared to the same food in 1940. What happened? That is a topic for another article.
Not all that long ago, our nation experienced the Great Depression, followed closely by WWII. Stories of hardship were everywhere. My grandpa told me how metal, rubber, flour, and many other supplies were rationed. Mumps, measles, scarlet fever, and diphtheria between them caused a loss of almost six and a half million days of availability for United States soldiers in the last World War. Business was tight; people didn’t have money to spend. Banks had liquidity runs, due to a lack of consumer confidence, that caused record numbers of banks to close, and thus farmers’ notes were called. Times were tough, but the American people proved tougher. Hardship made the people work together. Neighbors helped those in need, everyone that could, had a “victory garden,” everything was reused and recycled, and locally supplied food was a must. These were tough people to persevere. We must be tough to persevere our modern challenges as well. Make no mistake, we are at war. War with an invisible enemy.
What can we do? Now, more than ever, this is the time to reach out to your local food supply. Ask questions. Farmers will gladly inform you why they do what they do. Who is producing food the way you think it ought to be produced? Who are the local farmers you look up to, and why? Put more emphasis on what and why they do what they do, rather than just finding the cheapest deal. Buy from the producer that gives you the highest quality, the most confidence, and long term security. Want a good deal? Buy a freezer and buy in bulk from your preferred local farmer. Supporting local also helps the money stay local.
Brown suggests, “A crisis often becomes a wake-up call. The current coronavirus outbreak is that wake-up call and must result in a serious re-examination of our food system, including asking and answering the following questions…
Do you know where your food comes from? Do you know who grows your food? What practices do they use? Do they focus on healthy soil? Is not your health and the health of your children worth knowing?”
As for our family, we eat what we raise. We pasture our bison, pigs, and chickens the way we do to build the nutrient density that benefits our family’s health, our consumers’ health, and the taste that so many of our customers appreciate. We are confident in our local food supply, because our family farm is responsibly producing our food. We raise our own meat, eggs, and a victory garden of our own, and buy our honey from a trusted apiary up the road that has bees that range to our pastures. We take care of our family and believe in the old phrase, “Preventative care is cheaper than the treatment.” Grandpa always said doctor visits aren’t cheap.
If we can help secure your family’s food supply, we would be proud to.