I’m scared of strawberries. Yesterday, I read an article where Myra Goodman, the founder of Earthbound Farm, was interviewed. She gave a few of her “organic” principles and I have been following almost all of them. One I have not always adhered to is going organic when it comes to strawberries. I will get organic if they have them, but I have been known to get non-organic sometimes.
Goodman went on to say that before conventional strawberry fields are planted, they are often fumigated with methyl bromide. This pesticide is linked to neurological disorders, respiratory problems and cancer in farm workers and people living near strawberry fields. Ouch. No more non-organic strawberries for me.
All of this just continues to remind me that even when I am making “healthy” food choices, I still need to be careful and informed when it comes to food. It’s not just about what the food does to my body, but what about the land and the people working it? There are animals, farmers, and workers that factor into this equation as well. That’s why I want to tell you about Food Day. Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.
The event was created by The Center for Science in the Public Interest. As their website states, and I quote, “The foods we eat should bolster our health, but the contemporary American diet is actually contributing to several hundred thousand premature deaths from heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer each year. What’s more, the way our food is produced is all too often harmful to farm and food workers, the environment, and farm animals. The American food system has created a diet of cheap, salty, overly processed packaged foods, high-calorie sugary drinks, and fast-food made of white bread, fatty grain-fed factory-farmed meat, and French fries.” I could not have said it better myself. This declaration reminds me of my post “The Weight of the Nation“.
As disheartening as the state of our nation’s health is, it is organizations and events like this that give me hope. Obesity and many chronic diseases have become a cultural problem that have come to be acceptable norms in the United States. As professionals we must acknowledge this and educate our clients and patients that their (and their families) welfare is dependent upon taking an active approach to fight this cultural norm. We must all advocate for access to healthy food, responsible food management, and safety for animals and workers.
Here are 12 benefits of choosing organic, according to Myra Goodman:
- Keeps chemicals out of your body, and the environment.
- Eliminates the main source of dietary pesticide exposure in kids.
- Protects farm workers, wildlife and nearby homes, schools, and businesses.
- Provides your family with highly nutritious produce.
- Protects our oceans.
- Reduces contaminants in our drinking water.
- Mitigates global warming.
- Assures you that you’re not eating genetically modified or irradiated foods.
- Avoids antibiotics and artificial growth hormones in meat/dairy.
- Supports farmers and other food producers who invest extra care to produce food organically.
- Promotes healthy soils.
- Preserves biodiversity.