In the past I’ve been embarrassed by the sheer amount and broad range of food available to me as a U.S. citizen. I’ve also been proud of it – conflicting emotions that never stopped me from dropping the cheapest meat and produce offered by the store into my cart. I had the comfort of knowing that the majority of the shoppers around me were doing the same thing. All of the huge displays in the store featured those products, and their abundance made it easy for me to follow the purchasing patterns suggested by the store and the manufacturers they support.
Today’s issue of voting with my dollar has become more complex, yet more important than ever. The rampant use of pesticides on produce, the ever-growing sale of unlabeled GMO crops, poorly managed seafood harvesting, and gigantic meat industry farming practices have all come together to systematically undermine my health. I realize that there are larger minds than mine working on the problems, along with a population that is becoming more aware and educated about these issues. I’m far from blameless in where we now stand in regard to food choices. Looking back I realize that these industries gave me exactly what I wanted; more food that was cheaper. I voted then (as I do now) with my dollar.
There is a line from the film A Few Good Men that concisely sums up the dichotomy in our society of citizens responding to the actions of our own military with disdain, while ironically pleading ignorance as to how and why those services are rendered: “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.”
If the food industry as a whole could speak in one voice, I suppose they might say something similar to consumers and count themselves vindicated. However, just because I’ve been wrong in the past doesn’t mean I have to keep being wrong. The movement toward providing healthy and sustainable nourishment for our country is exactly that, a movement. We are the troops that will shift the policies and provide non-poisoned food to our children. As always, the simplest way for consumers to sustain a movement is by voting with our dollar. I ask that you consider this the next time you’re choosing the foods that you will place in your cart for your family to enjoy. ~TH~