Taking Action

Taking Action

Aug 26

If you’ve read my recent post about the USDA and connected it to some of my previous thought-provoking posts, I may be sounding a bit like a conspiracy theorist to you. So let me clear the air: This blog (and my conviction) is not about any one group plotting to control the world, bent on total dominion over us little people. The fact is simply this: People want to make money. Many of them, behind the guise of a company name, will take any action that helps them turn a greater profit, without considering the consequences to other people, animals, the economy or the environment. It’s selfish, but it’s true, and I’m not about to say that anyone is above it, to a certain point. I’ve been known to help myself at the expense of others, but it’s on a small scale, and I feel I’ve atoned myself after the fact and become a better person for it.

Any time the government proposes a measure that may lower a company’s bottom line, that company will use their money to lobby and influence legislation in their favor. This is the democratic way of the system we’ve set up. So unless the rest of us – who don’t have such a financial investment in the direct result – counteract by making our own voices heard, the government will continue to represent wealthy businesses instead of representing us, the people.

Things you can do to make your voice heard:

  1. If you’re shopping in a supermarket, buy organic. Even large stores like Wal-Mart exist only because people spend money there, and they determine which products to carry based on your food dollars. Every time you buy organic vegetables or milk that doesn’t have rBGH, you’re telling your supermarket what you’re interested in buying.  know you may feel like just one person, but it makes a difference.
  2. Talk to your friends and family about how food is produced and encourage them to buy organic. No confrontation necessary: Just bring up the subject, share what you know and explain why you think buying different types of food can make a difference. Just like a chain letter, these changes can only happen if you spread the word.
  3. Make a farmer’s market one of your regular shopping stops and buy from the growers there. Supporting local growers is a huge boon for your local economy and the health of a diverse food system, but even if the produce stand at your market only has redistributed produce, that’s still supporting someone local who makes their money on food.
  4. Ask questions. Start with the basics:
    • “Where do you get your vegetables/fruit/meat/dairy?”
    • “If you grow it yourself, where is your farm located?”
    • “Do you grow in soil or hydroponically?”

    The more you know about food production, the more you’ll be able to ask. Things like:

    • “How do you control pests? Do you use chemicals or natural methods”
    • “What do you use for fertilizer? Do you make your own compost?”
    • “How many varieties do you typically grow?”
    • “Are your animals raised primarily on pasture? How much space do they have?”

    The more I research and learn, the more I realize how backward it is that we are so passive about food. We take what the market gives us and assume it’s all we’ll get. Our health is personal, and there should be absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions about how and where food is grown.

  5. Talk to the manager of your local supermarket. If you can’t find something organic that you want there, ask them to start carrying it. Most likely, you won’t see the product show up next week, but if you continue asking about it every so often, and other people are doing the same, then maybe you’ll see it in six months or a year. But you’ll never see it if no one ever asks for it.
  6. Write a letter to, e-mail, or call your representatives in office. You don’t need a passionate, urgent issue to justify contacting your representatives (although there are plenty). Try sending an e-mail or writing a letter once a month that simply explains what you support and what you want to see happen. “Hello, Mr./Mrs. Senator, I am one of your constituents, and I am very interested in food safety. I’ve noticed that the USDA and FDA have very little power to regulate the food industry, and I’d like to see more measures put in place to give them the authority they need. Health is a very important issue to me and my family, and I believe that food safety is a key factor in public health and therefore the government’s budget.”
  7. Visit the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance website to find talking points, fliers, and summaries of current bills. That link goes directly to the food safety page, but you can also find talking points and action points for genetic engineering of food, raw milk, and other issues.

1 comment

  1. Sara

    Thanks :)

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