Friday, October 24, 2008

Half Act

A few days ago I was moaning about a disappointing grocery adventure. I went to the same store this week. Okay, it's Sprouts, and I spent quite a bit of time shuffling from one end of the meat department to the other. To their credit, I did not see the factory chicken I saw on my first visit, but guess where the organic beef comes from--Uruguay! Having nothing against that country, I still object. I live in the American west, an area built on the back of beef. And I'm expected to buy meat that's been hauled, flown, beamed up, from another country? Not! We already spend more on fuel to transport food than I care to think about. Why don't we have a food policy? We have a government policy or department for every aspect of our lives, but no one dares take on the big food industry in a meaningful way. I know we are all very busy surviving the onslaught of mud that erupts from our media every few minutes, but the election looms and we will have time again to think about what really matters. Not that the election doesn't matter. It certainly does. But the ugly ads don't matter. I've been told by more than one informed commentator to ignore them. Hey, if we took all the money spent on TV ads and used it to support a regional food supply system, we'd be safer, saner, and healthier.

So, what have I done but spout off here? I found the shift manager at Sprouts and politely said that I will not support the supply practices I see in that store. Nor will I buy products from factory suppliers. She smiled and said she would forward my remarks to the meat manager. I plan to repeat my concerns every time I see those vague or ridiculous labels on food. Rules I live by (when I'm not starving, and let's face it, I could stand to starve a couple of days): Don't eat anything that has more than five ingredients or ingredients I cannot pronounce; don't eat anything that has traveled further than the moon and back; pay willingly a fair price for local, organic, humanely produced food; speak up when the food supply gets out of control. Just to be sure I'm doing my part, I wrote a collection of poems about the human-grocery connections. Food is a basic right and an emotional time bomb. Hmm, no not a bomb, something more errosive. It eats us as much as we eat it. Next time you buy bread, look at the ingredients and check out how far it has traveled. Oh, I also have a personal ban on High Fructose Corn Syrup.

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