The deaths of 31 people in Europe from a little-known strain of E. coli have raised alarms worldwide, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Our food often betrays us.Just a few days ago, a 2-year-old girl in Dryden, Va., died in a hospital after suffering bloody diarrhea linked to another strain of E. coli. Her brother was also hospitalized but survived.
Every year in the United States, 325,000 people are hospitalized because of food-borne illnesses and 5,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s right: food kills one person every two hours.
Yet while the terrorist attacks of 2001 led us to transform the way we approach national security, the deaths of almost twice as many people annually have still not generated basic food-safety initiatives. We have an industrial farming system that is a marvel for producing cheap food, but its lobbyists block initiatives to make food safer.
Perhaps the most disgraceful aspect of our agricultural system — I say this as an Oregon farmboy who once raised sheep, cattle and hogs — is the way antibiotics are recklessly stuffed into healthy animals to make them grow faster. READ MORE
WHEREAS, according to the Declaration of Independence, all people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”; and
WHEREAS, food is human sustenance and is the fundamental prerequisite to life; and
WHEREAS, the basis of human sustenance rests on the ability of all people to save seed and grow, process, consume and exchange food and farm products; and
WHEREAS, it is our obligation as elected representatives of the people of Maine to protect the fundamental freedoms as enshrined by the Constitution of Maine and the United States Constitution and to protect agricultural, ecological and economic diversity and sustainability for a free and healthy society; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED: That We, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Legislature now assembled in the First Regular Session, on behalf of the people we represent, and in recognition of our State’s proud agricultural heritage, take this opportunity to oppose any federal statute, law or regulation that attempts to threaten our basic human right to save seed and grow, process, consume and exchange food and farm products within the State of Maine.
by David Grant, Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor. / November 24, 2009 On a foundation of Christian principles, Salatin has built a farming ecosystem where cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits interact ecologically in a way that goes beyond conservation.
Meet the best, loudest (and only) Christian-libertarian-capitalist-environmentalist-lunatic farmer on the face of planet Earth....
“What we’re looking at is God’s design, nature’s template, and using that as a pattern to cut around and lay it down on a domestic model to duplicate that pattern that we see in nature,” Salatin says.
What that means for Polyface in practical terms is that the cattle graze different areas of pasture every day. Then chickens pick through the same fields, eating bugs and spreading cow manure before clucking back to mobile coops.
The farm’s pigs generate fertilizer by rooting around the floor of the barn, lured by sweet corn into aerating the mix of hay, cow manure, and wood chips. The finished compost is spread on fields. This process not only takes almost nothing out of the environment, it puts nutrients back in.
“We believe that the farm should be building ‘forgiveness’ into the ecosystem,” Salatin says. “What does that mean? That a more forgiving ecosystem is one that can better handle drought, flood, disease, pestilence.” READ MORE
More on the spirituality angle of food production as I am currently working on an article for U.S. Catholic magazine about spirituality and urban gardens. Olga