WFP: Food for our food
Posted On April 20, 2011
In this culture, it is advantageous for big industrial food giants to do all that they can to remove us from the source of our food. It makes sense for them to do so. Just walking down the isles of an average supermarket, a large percentage of the "food" is not really food. I mean, sure, you can chew it and swallow it and garner some caloric benefit, but it doesn’t really feed us the way food was meant to feed us. Food- real food– is nourishing and protective and whole. If we truly understood what real food is, where it comes from, and how it is supposed to feel in our bodies… things would change drastically.
I started thinking about my food like this several years ago, and yet only recently did I start to see that this cycle of life is supposed to be a closed loop system. It’s a true cycle- go figure! Everything feeds everything, in the end. Literally. The body of one thing is sacrificed to feed another, and on and on. As magical as photosynthesis is, plants still need nutrients and good healthy soil to thrive- and that basically comes down to the recycling of nutrients/matter through the decomposition of other living things. So really, from the sun to the plant, from the plant to the insects to the animals, to the dead plants and animals that nourish the soil, back to the plant… a closed loop. That’s how it was designed. And healthy soil? Oh my. Healthy soil is where it all starts, I’m learning. It’s the foundation. But we’ve forgotten this.
A good example is what’s happening to our water. A renewable resource? Think again. Despite there being exactly the same amount of water on this earth as there ever was, we continue to use and toxify it at a non-renewable rate. And yet, without our toxic and wasteful influence, water was certainly renewable- filtering through the earth and coming back good as new. The same thing is happening to our soil- once rich and full of organic matter, it’s being depleted and eroded and taken for granted. It’s so much more than just dirt. It’s living and so valuable.
It’s interesting, when you think about how there really shouldn’t be any waste (because it should all return to nourish something else), to look at how we deal with what we deem "waste" on a daily basis. Most things get flushed into the water- whether it be our own bodily wastes or food down the disposal. This merely gives us the illusion of cleanliness. What it really does is puts a strain on the water system (thus the need for more chemicals, too), clogs up our pipes (Jeff has heard that plumbers say: "Thank God for garbage disposals- they keep us in business!"), and contribute to the illusion that we can just flush this stuff away. Worse yet, we often lock our waste in plastic trash bags, destined to rot (rather than naturally and cleanly decompose) in a landfill. This is craziness!
One might say that this doesn’t have much to do with food, but I think it has everything to do with it. We need to learn how to take a look at the whole picture, and to take more responsibility. As a species that takes and takes, it seems the least we could do is try to efficiently and cleanly manage our waste- even if it is a little more work for us. I dream of a day when we can use our incredible brains and technology to leave this place even better than when we found it… but I digress.
What can be done? The simplest thing you can do is compost. Composting is super easy, and just makes too much sense not to do it. You can compost anywhere- don’t be fooled when people say they don’t have enough space. There’s a wealth of information out there, it can be done in an apartment with a balcony, in very little space and with very little effort. Also, it shouldn’t be smelly. I’ve had a smelly compost, and it’s because I just didn’t do the research and didn’t care for it properly. Above is a picture of our new improved composting system (in progress, soon we’ll be cranking out good usable compost). As a follow up to this post, if you all are interested, I’ll make another post dedicated to composting food scraps and the various ways to do it.
Another little thing you can do is try to avoid plastic and things that don’t easily decompose. At some point in the future, Jeff and I will likely be converting our toilets to compostable systems. I’d also like to figure out a meat/bone composting system as well (it’s a little more involved, but I’m willing to do the research). I suppose in the meantime I could just bury bones somewhere after I’m done making stock…
Anyway, we should be thinking about this. We should be thinking about how to return the energy that we take, and working towards a closed loop system.