The New Year is here and the fiscal cliff is looming. The major television stations are reporting alarming news about the need for a new farm bill or we will be paying $8 for a gallon of milk. The farmers for whom this bill makes the most difference, are the farmers who have already sold their souls to the government for farm subsidies to be able to afford pursuing what was once their dream. Our agricultural bills have created a system that requires mass production, huge toxic loads and creating food like products that utilize those subsidized crops such as soy, corn and wheat. Much of these crops consist of GMO’s or genetically modified organisms which have been shown to cause massive tumor growth in laboratory mice.
This means that most processed foods like crackers, chips, cookies, pasta dishes, sodas, and condiments, which contain soy, corn and wheat in one form or another, are made of carcinogenic substances. These “foods” are popular because they are cheap or affordable.
As for expensive milk, if we, as a nation were paying the actual cost of dairy products, $8 for a gallon of milk would be especially cheap. Again, in the name of efficiency and the bottom line, cows are treated as industrial machines in this country, rather than as animals, their living environments require they be treated with antibiotics and hormones. Because they are fed corn, the same GMO filled corn mentioned above, the cow’s guts are especially toxic. Their bodies are made to digest grasses, not corn. After a year of receiving corn, the natural flora in the guts are toxic to the cows and to humans. You might think, “How does the flora in cow poop have anything to do with dairy products?” The answer is, it shouldn’t. But because the cows are merely a means to an end, their utters are usually covered in feces when they go for milking, this is why pasteurization is required. And when these same cows have outlived their usefulness as milk cows, and are sick and weak, they are sent to slaughter. Slaughter houses run at such a fast pace that the tired workers, numb from processing huge animals in a refrigerated area, frequently gut the cows inadvertently spilling the contents of their intestines onto the conveyor belt and the parts that become our meat.
For anyone who is already buying from small, sustainable, local ranchers, the real cost for healthy, safe food is apparent. Buying raw milk is not legal, so to partake, you must purchase a share of a cow or a herd and pay a monthly maintenance fee in order to receive milk and cream. Cow shares range in cost from $25 to $50, as a one time fee, and the monthly maintenance fees have a similar range. It is not uncommon to pay $36 for a gallon of milk. Pasture raised chicken eggs range from $4.50 to $6.50 a dozen. And meats of all assortments are more per pound when purchased from ranchers who choose to raise their animals ethically and sustainably.
The point here is this: because we have allowed our government to have a say in what crops are the most important, (note that foods like tomatoes, greens,and fruits are not subsidized,) and agriculture has become more about keeping cost down to the consumer, we have created food that is toxic on multiple layers and is economically and environmentally unsustainable. The end result of this is the creation of critical levels of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia in the human population which then creates an unsustainable need for medical care. Our fiscal cliff, it seems, is inevitable unless we begin taking the steps to correct this from the ground up, literally. We all need to begin making conscious decisions about the foods we eat. We are a capitalist society, democracy has shown us votes rarely change the political environment, but money always does. Let us begin voting with our dollars. Yes, it will mean the demise of the massive farm structure, but it will also mean the growth of small, local farms, healthier populations and a rebalancing of our economy.
Here is to a new beginning.