I recently finished reading America's Food: What You Don't Know About What You Eat by Harvey Blatt, and I have to say that it was very eye-opening. To say that today's consumer is divorced from the process of food production is quite the understatement. Blatt began his book by discussing and comparing farming from one to two hundred years ago to farming today, and while I knew that the changes would be drastic, I didn't know in what way. Farming and meat production has gone from many small farms to a few gigantic farms. Subsidies have encouraged the production of only a few kinds of food, and within those, a few varieties of those foods. The number of varieties of foods that have gone "extinct" is astounding! Pesticides are increasingly being found in our groundwater and are being run off into the ocean, killing millions of fish and other sea creatures. He describes how modern food is nutrient deficient with actual numbers to go along with it. Blatt goes through every aspect of our food including soil, organic food, genetically modified food, meat, seafood, fruits and veggies, food processing, and poor eating. One of the things I like most about this book is that it contains everything in one source, and nearly every sentence has a reference to the back with where he got his information from. Unfortunately I didn't mark places where I exclaimed "Holy cow!" after reading something, so you'll just have to read the book yourself. There definitely were countless facts that I learned from this book that had never crossed my mind before, and is definitely changing the way my family will be eating in the future. (I had my first cage-free eggs this morning!) All in all, this book was very informative, I was pleased to see scientific data behind the writing, and I think everyone who eats should read it.
  • pearl

    btw, “cage free” is not equal to “free range” when it comes to eggs.

  • Yeah, he discussed the problems with the labeling and how most of the new wordings aren’t regulated at all. And now I can’t remember if my eggs said free range also or not! I’ll have to look!

  • Yeah – it’s disgusting isn’t it? In Defense of Food talks about similar issues as does Animal Vegetable Miracle (which I’m reading now). I feel like I view everything as a conspiracy theory now because the food industry (clothing industry, any other industry) works so hard to conceal what is actually going on. It makes me so mad. I only want to buy things from local farmers now. . . I forget which book it’s from (it might be from both) but America is the only nation that demands cheap food – other industrialized countries spend a much higher percentage of their income on their food leading to food produced in somewhat better conditions.

    Recently, in an article in Gourmet, they talked about how if you ate a tomato in the winter months (that wasn’t from a local hydroponic greenhouse) it was almost 99.9% certain that it was picked by a virtual slave. In America. How sick is that? Not to even get into how those slave’s health is being compromised by pesticide use. Erg!!!

    Can you tell I get worked up about this whole thing??

  • Oh yeah, and the whole wording not being regulated, it’s so dumb. Natural doesn’t mean organic (which is regulated but causes a whole new set of problems for small farmers), organic doesn’t apply to non food items, free range means they’re only given access to the outside (but doesn’t say for how long), grass fed is not the same as grass finished. Seriously. It’s like the food industry is trying to confuse everyone.

  • Agreed. It all makes me want to put a cow and some chickens in my backyard and grow more veggies. Somehow I’m not sure that Brian or the dogs would appreciate that, though…. :)

  • I joke with Jason that I want a couple chickens and a mini Jersey dairy cow – apparently they only get as big as a German Shepard. But yeah, Jason isn’t too fond on that idea.

    Apparently rabbits are great to have too for fertilizer and food! They breed quickly, they’re quiet and their poo is fantastic for your garden! Maybe you could convince Brian to let you get a couple rabbits. . .