Food Activism: Change the world one meal at a time

Everyday we make choices that effect the world for the better or worse.  Of course, these choices also effect our health and the health of our families.

It is so easy to forget this with food– especially in our convenience oriented, fast paced world.  But what we eat profoundly effects our landscape, our bodies, and our future.

When you consider what you value– what is truly important to you– then push those feelings into the choices you make about food, you are using food, the very sustaining force in your life, as activism.

I finally did this by joining a localvore CSA. I’ve been talking about eating local for years, but I had trouble living that value.  With two young kids, I didn’t always want to schlep down to the farmer’s market, searching for local food.  I wanted to make a quick trip. Thankfully, my weekly CSA share has lessened my trips to the grocery store, and I feel good about eating and feeding my family this local, healthy food.

Food activism can also be done by making specific dietary choices, such as participating in Meatless Mondays, becoming a vegetarian, or even pledging to eat only local, humanely raised meat.  The devastating effects of factory farms have been well documented, but here is a summary of just a few:  factory farming increases global warming, air pollution, hormones in food, pollution in local communities, and risks of dangerous bacterial infections and diseases such as E-coli, salmonella, and Mad Cow.

Unfortunately,  sometimes it is hard financially to live your values with food, but thankfully, this is improving.  Organic food is getting cheaper, and using a CSA cuts down on grocery trips– and those tempting convenience foods that come along with those trips.

Food activism can inspire amazing changes for the better, such as in schools.  A sea tide of changes has been accumulating slowly at our local elementary school, led by our chefs and a nutrition committee.  We have local grass fed beef, composting, whole what flour, only white milk, and local salads.  These are changes are significant, and praiseworthy, but we are not finished.  Kids are still eating canned fruit laced with BPA, and white rolls with regular hot dogs on occasion.  There is much room for improvement, but changes happens slowly, and adds up.

Food activism is changing the landscape of our communities– with more working family farms, more local food based events, and restaurants that pledge to use as much local food as possible.  Hand in hand, downtowns can flourish with independent restaurants selling locally created products and food.

I have to remind myself that activism need not be all about online organizing, rallies, phone banks and meetings.  It’s about the decisions you make everyday, where to get your food, what to buy, and how to make it, that leads to change. As much as possible, I pledge to participate in food activism, by choosing to eat local, organic, vegetarian, whole foods.  And then to extend this into my school and community.

What about you? What is your food activism?  How do you use food to support your values and changes you want to see in the world?

This post is part of Blog Action Day 2011, a day of blogging across the globe centered on the theme of food.  Welcome, Blog Action Day readers, please leave a comment and check out some other posts happening here at Non-Toxic Kids.

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