Information, seasonal offerings and commentary on eating local foods, living a sustainable life and saving the planet.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Beet goes on!

After a long hiatus, The Beet is back--just in time for planting season.

Since my last post, Barack Obama was elected president (yay!) and the First Family has begun the process of putting in a vegetable garden at the White House (under much scrutiny and even some controversy). A popular public figure like Michelle Obama will perhaps inspire the planting of many backyard gardens as well as lead by example in changing eating habits: she has made a commitment to see that her daughters mainly eat only fresh, local and organic foods.

I have happily just placed my own seed and transplant order with Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. Seed Savers is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds, and in the process, preserving rare garden varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers that have been passed down for generations.

It's the efforts of organizations like Seed Savers, of small organic family farms and community farmers markets, of average persons like you and me--not just famous ones like Michelle Obama--that drive corporations like Monsanto crazy simply because we are beginning to change the way Americans view their food supply. More of us are realizing that the whole circle begins to change when we eat real food from our own gardens or from neighboring farms, and spend more time cooking it and enjoying it with friends and family. It's about better-tasting food, improved health, stronger local economies, livelier communities, a safer food system and a healthier environment. Change like that is a powerful thing and it is making big-agra start to sit up, take notice, and unfortunately, push back.

Monsanto, Tyson, Cargill and other behemoth agri-businesses are feeling threatened. It's like Goliath warily eyeing David and that sling in his hand. They're seeing a small but steadily-growing market of organic, regional foods raised on small farms cutting into their hefty profits. The stone in our sling is but a mere pebble, metaphorically-speaking, compared to the strength of those Philistines, but they won't stand for competition from any upstarts, so they helped write HR 875, the "food safety bill" currently passing through Congress.

More on this bill in my next post.