Interestingly, this week my students at two different campuses, with two different textbooks, discussed similar articles exposing the harmful nature of processed foods and encouraging readers to 1) buy locally and 2) grow their own food. The question for many is--how possible is it to do either? One class came up with several objections--expense, time, laziness, to name a few. But the benefits outweigh the objections--buying locally is healthier and it stimulates the local economy.
One of the authors, Michael Pollan (interview on Colbert Report linked here), is quite famous, with several books under his belt. While Pollan has some fantastic points (really--they sterilize the manure in our meat instead of getting it out!?), he seems to have some circular reasoning. He blames many of our food woes on government regulations, which limit small farmers' ability to be competitive, yet advocates the creation of more government programs to solve the problems he sees.
Why not just eliminate the government programs causing the problems? I find this to be a picture of a larger problem in our society. When a program doesn't work, we assume that we have to create another program to solve the first problem, rather than simply eliminating the programs that don't work. We've become so dependent on sources outside of ourselves for everything important in our lives. We depend on grocery stores for food, the government for health care (now), schools to raise our children...we haven't lost the ability to care for ourselves and our basic needs, but we've lost the confidence in our ability to do so.
Growing your own food, educating your own children, using natural healing methods, etc, is empowering. America is a land of liberty--but with liberty comes responsibility. If we want to keep our freedoms, we need to be willing to take responsibility for our lives.