What we learned about food security in 2016

Rumio Cena will take a week to plow this field once. It must be plowed three times before the corn is planted. Photo: Simon Chambers

In response to PWRDF’s Fred Says campaign, the Food Security group at St Laurence Church in Calgary has started to think about food in a new way. It has joined both Food Security Canada and Alberta Food Matters, and one member is working with the city on community food engagement as a member of the board of AB Food Matters.

The group has also been reading books, watching films and writing about the food we eat in Canada. Here are a few of the poignant findings we have derived from our research, in an attempt to become food literate.

  1. The food we eat today is 40 percent less nutritious than previous generations, due to the quality of the soil.
  1. It takes three years for a tract of land to get “clean” after years of putting chemicals on it. A “cover crop” for this period grabs the carbon from the air and helps fight climate change.
  1. It is important to buy organic thin skinned fruits, like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, etc. Thick skinned fruit, like cantaloupe, watermelon, avocados, bananas are more apt to be protected from pesticides and herbicides.
  1. Eat mostly plants, vegetables rather than meat. One in three people will get diabetes or have a heart attack in their lifetimes on our present diet.
  1. Don’t eat too much. Never feel too stuffed after a meal.
  1. Cows and pigs are herbivores and need to eat plants, not what they are fed now, ground up meat or grain. The methane gas they pass, due to indigestion, contributes to our air pollution.
  1. Monoculture farms are not as sustainable as polyculture farms that grow a diversity of animals and crops.
  1. Antibiotics and growth hormones in meats are making humans drug resistant with superbugs that resist conventional treatments such as penicillin.
  1. The amount of food thrown out each day in grocery stores and restaurants borders on thousands of pounds.
  1. People and cities are beginning to grow their own food in their yards, on vacant lots, in large containers, like railway cars, and large greenhouses. Many local crops are also organically grown.
  1. Organic food has increased in supply and demand by 20 percent each year for the past few years. In fact, it is the fastest growing type of food available.
  1. Processed food, prepackaged or boxed, is highly subsidized by governments and is full of chemicals. It is cheap and convenient, but not healthy.
  1. Fresh produce is not subsidized by anyone.
  1. Big food industries are controlled by about three companies worldwide. Cargill and Monsanto are two. They sell seeds, genetically modified (GMO) seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics to farmers worldwide. In 1998 GMO seeds were introduced into the food chain.
  1. Corn is almost 100 percent genetically modified and permeates much of our prepared food.
  1. At present, 3.1 million metric tons of glyphosate (Round-up) is sprayed on crops worldwide. Crops are gradually becoming weed resistant to glyphosate. Allergies to peanuts, wheat, dairy are attributed to glyphosate which is changing the bacteria in our systems.
  1. It is a myth that we are feeding the world’s poor by farming large tracts of land. And the food we are exporting is contaminated. Small tracts of land are producing far more than can be consumed locally, and it is sustainably produced, protecting/nourishing the soil and the grains.

If everyone bought $10 worth of locally grown or organic food each week in their regular grocery store buying it would help the economy and encourage the food industry to clean up the soil. You probably have noticed the grocery stores have sections for organic food. Some also advertise with food labels that show that the food is locally grown. Thanks for your help and for eating healthy. And for supporting PWRDF who supports local farmers as they grow their own food in impoverished countries. Please consider giving your loved ones a gift for food security through PWRDF.

For more information check out:

Stuffed and Starved, by Raj Patel, Harper Perennial (2007).
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, Penguin Books (2007).

The Empowering Neurologist. Dr. David Perlmutter interviews Dr. Stephanie Seneff on glyphosate research.

Films (available in the public library):
In Defense of Food
Food, Inc. (also on Netflix)
Forks over Knives (also on Netflix)


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