Scared of our food

Listening to the periodic updates on the salmonella in your fast food tomato (or is it the peppers or is it the salsa or what the heck is it anyway) made me run back to Michael Pollan for comforting words. His 2006 article (remember the spinach E. coli scare?), the Vegetable-Industrial Complex, has a lot to say to today’s issues and is worth revisiting, or just plain visiting if you missed it the first time.

If you don’t want to read the whole article, I like this bit in particular:

Wendell Berry once wrote that when we took animals off farms and put them onto feedlots, we had, in effect, taken an old solution–the one where crops feed animals and animals’ waste feeds crops–and neatly divided it into two new problems: a fertility problem on the farm, and a pollution problem on the feedlot.

Timely thoughts, now that we’re in the season of growing and farmers marketing. The trust that Pollan talks about with respect to produce he buys from stallholders he’s known and patronised for years is missing from what you pick up off a supermarket shelf, or from a fast food counter. And he makes another important point, one that small BC meat producers will recognise, about governments punishing small farmers in their efforts to impose safety measures on industrial-scale farming.

On that very topic, I happened upon a recent podcast of the always interesting Kootenay Coop Radio program, Deconstructing Dinner, which was about The Culture of Meat and features an interview with Susan Bourette, the author of Carnivore Chic: From Pasture to Plate, A Search for the Perfect Meat.

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