The past decade has seen a renewed interest in healthier, more locally sourced food. Food is a powerful political thing. Because everybody eats, food issues touch virtually all facets of politics: health, race and class, economics and environment.
Farming and food affects the environment: Factory farming and even just the bare soil that large-scale farming creates leads to serious erosion. Fertilizer runoff into oceans also wreaks environmental havoc by creating algal blooms that choke out shellfish and fish life. Pesticides are toxic to humans, as well as many other animals and unsuspecting insects, like honeybees.
Farming is closely intertwined with health and socioeconomic issues: Corn, America’s top crop, is heavily subsidized and in virtually all processed foods. This means that unhealthy foods are often the most affordable, leaving America’s poorer populations largely obese and unhealthy. Healthy food is just plain unaffordable to many people — about one in eight Americans is on food stamps.
But achieving food justice might be pretty simple to accomplish, or at least make a dent in. Where it might take gobs of money and years in Congress to make a big change in U.S. policy, achieving food justice can be done piece by piece, community by community.
Help start the food justice movement where you are by:
Reducing the meat you eat.
It takes about 15 pounds of grain and thousands of gallons of water to produce a pound of meat, which is also often trucked thousands of miles in order to get to the consumer. So, everything in moderation. If you’re reducing your meat intake, you’re impacting conservation on lots of levels!
Joining a CSA.
By buying a share in a community supported agriculture program, you’ll be helping out a small farmer and getting local, healthy, often organic produce at a reasonable price. This means your food is fresh and hasn’t had to travel across the country to get to your plate. CSAs secure much-needed funds for small farms early in the season, and guarantees a customer base which helps keep them alive.
Composting your food scraps.
Not only does composting your food prevent waste from going to the landfill, it can save you money on waste collection costs and give you the perfect material to start a garden! Don’t have a yard? Find a nearby garden club that collects food scraps, or try vermicomposting or stealth composting!
Planting a small garden or container garden.
If you have a yard and a little bit of time, gardening is a great way to reconnect with your food and ensure a healthier lifestyle. Lay out some of that compost in garden beds or pots, find a place on a sunny patio or window ledge and plant your seeds or seedlings. Keep them watered, and before long you just may have way too many beans and squash!
This post originally appeared on Campus Progress.
Photo credit: thebittenword.com via flickr
By Kara Cusolito, staff writer with Campus Progress.