“As God As My Witness”- Scarlett O Hara

Week 3 of my Environmental Science Class at Dartmouth University EDX:  FOOD

Spoiler Alert:

I was employed as a Field Scout for a University/Extension Services/Dept of Agriculture Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)  for some years of my life. Basically I went out and about on area farms and looked for bugs and diseases on  acres of fresh market corn, potatoes, peppers, and carrots. I took soil samples… Walked alot of fields,  wrote down what I found, had light traps and sticky traps, and dew monitoring devices scattered across three counties.  Reported all I discovered to the farmer growing the crops, the University, to the various county, state, and federal agencies. The goal of the IPM program was  to reduce the amount of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used. Rather than just routinely spray fields with chemicals, they would be applied as actually needed when pests/disease reached  set thresholds. The farmers embraced  it because for a nominal fee they could reduce their chemical use and their costs by up to 40% sometimes, reduce the health risks to themselves and their workers from exposure, and  bring good food to market. The chemical companies did not like that 40% cost reduction, and by the time I left the chemical companies  were in high gear to have their ‘own’ IPM Scouts free to the farmers who bought their chemicals. During this period I  held a Category One Commercial Applicators License for Pesticides issued by the DEP.  I know way too much about what agro chemicals  do to living things.  I know they are often necessary in food production and have been the person who made the recommendation.  I hold a degree in Aquaculture (fish farming).

I am loyal to and support the survival of small family farms, am chilled to the bone frightened by factory farming practices and the control, modification, and contamination of our food by those practices.

Concerned  about GMO’s:   Australia,  Japan plus the 27 countries of the European Union have a ban on Genetically Modified Organisms. The United States let them loose and because they can’t take it back embraces them. GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially altered. It creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Long ago and very far away, the  household where I lived experienced a taste of hungry., now called Food Insecurity.

It was my

Scarlett O Hara Moment.

As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.

It rides along through these many years of prosperity somewhere in my subconscious. It shows itself in restaurants when I read an entire menu before ordering, thrilled with the possibilities. It shows up with my groaning pantry shelves, my always overflowing fridge full of healthy stuff, my cooking for anyone who walks through the door, or I hear is feeling poorly. I abhor the wasting of food. Love of new recipes and cookbooks. Always say grace and mean it. It  showed up my Environmental Science Class today!

The topic was food. I narrowly have focused here on my website on a few of the definitions presented in the class, and then went looking about on the agency sites that use those terms. Decided to demonstrate what I thought the terms looked like.

Dartmouth University EDX:   Environmental Science                                             Week 3: Food

“It’s important you look and act like a farmer”
― Anders Breivik,

Humans have been growing food for about 12,000 years.
As the Hunter Gatherer stage of human development gave way to domesticating animals and digging in the dirt, we mostly settled down and created more permanent living arrangements. Populations grew as more food was produced, and in the last hundred years in developed countries, the animals and people who once did the labor has given way to machinery, chemicals, and tremendous use of fossil fuels. Circling back to Organic Farms which while often using machinery and mechanization do not use synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pest controls. Organic farmers tend to build soils, avoid GMO seeds, and produce much healthier food. Both organic and commercial farms  negatively impact the environment. The  organic farm through plowing creates erosion and uses fossil fuels, or the commercial who erode terrain and burn fossil fuels, but also introduces a variety of chemicals, genetically modified organisms into our environment, and over time depletes soil nutrients and organic matter through overuse of the land and faulty irrigation practices.

But however it’s grown,  people got to eat.

7.2 Billion People on our planet, and one million more arrive every five days.

Image result for happy people images
“What’s for dinner?”

Food insecurity is when people do not have access to an adequate amount of food for an active, healthy life.
It is estimated that 14.5 percent of United States households found themselves facing that situation in 2012 and it hasn’t changed much since. And 5.6 of United States households find themselves facing food insecurity as the way they live. I believe those numbers are much higher. Back when our household had those, thankfully, few days…we called it ‘being alittle hungry.’ And no one but us knew.

 

Image result for malnutrition images
Malnourished looks like this

3 Billion, estimates the World Health Organization  are malnourished. When you are malnourished it means that irregardless of the number of calories you consume, your food lacks the correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals to adequately sustain you. Oh you are alive, but it means you are not healthy, easily susceptible to diseases, and if you are a child your hungry brain isn’t operating as intended and your IQ will lower accordingly.

Image result for malnutrition
And this.

 

This

 

 

1 Billion of us suffer from Overnutrition. Taking in way too many calories, but of the wrong kind of foods, and so we  are fat, get sedentary,  and it does not look like a good time. Overnutrition  leads to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, and while it once was the playground of the United States citizenry, it has now spread worldwide. Time to read labels and see what it is you are putting into your body. How much of it is actual food?

weird-fat-man-eating-burger2
It looks like this
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And this

 

Time to talk about Famine  A famine occurs when  the lack of food is so extreme that a large number of people are going to die in a given area over a very short period of time.

The UN has warned that there are 2.5 million people on the brink of famine and that more than six million people in the South Sudan are on the edge of it. Half the population of the Sudan just may starve to death.

Famine is when the guns come out.
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The cows die
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Bodies pile up

 

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

These are what healthy people with access to healthy food look like.

Image result for images of healthy americans

Image result for healthy americans images

Image result for healthy americans images

 

 

 

 

 

At JoHannaMassey.com  people show up from all over the globe. Yesterday people came here from the United States, Germany, Kenya, South Africa, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and India. I would love to hear from you about Farming and the whole issue of Food in your country, whether you grow your own, what your markets and supply chain looks like, do you eat and embrace organic? My curiosity about how the people who come to my website eat. Send me a recipe, a photo. Tell me your food stories!

My best to everyone.

11 thoughts on ““As God As My Witness”- Scarlett O Hara

    1. As I am deep housecleaning my blog you are the second person today to speak of that post. A post I enjoyed creating so much and really felt good for me. Thank you so much and I am inspired. All my best to you.

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  1. Great post. These a subjects of such great importance and unfortunately don’t receive as much attention as they should. What we are doing to our soil is terrifying. It is sad that we live in a time when things that are supposed to nourish our bodies like fruits and vegetables could pose a threat. Education about these issues is key. We only have this one planet, we need to take care of it as much as we do ourselves.
    Thank you for this post.

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    1. Thank you so much. Indeed, you remind me on a day I am ‘deep cleaning’ my blog, that I originally wanted to do environmental and science features, but I found that they did not receive much interest from readers. So your comment right now is so centering for me. Thank you.

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  2. Fascinating post Johanna. I struggle with the issues you raise here. I have to say that I believe the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables to be found in supermarkets here in the UK has actually risen over the last 5 to 10 years and most of the main retailers stock organic. Demand for organic is rising here all the time.

    We also have a ‘greengrocers’ in our nearest town but these are becoming more rare because supermarkets can offer lower prices.

    There are, however, lots of fruit and veg box delivery schemes here which will deliver a weekly/fortnightly/monthly box of organic and mostly local produce and other sundries. They are available to almost all of the country.These are wonderful. A bit pricier than the supermarkets but definitely worth it. If I could afford to get one every week I would, but as a single mother with a low income this is not possible for me right now. So I get one a month.

    Under the austerity measures I see a lot of people struggling at the moment to keep the standard of living to what they are used to. There has been a huge rise in the use of charitable food banks and many are having to forego ideals in order to just put food on the table.

    We also have farmers markets here but they are limited in what they offer, and I don’t think these are as popular because of the ease of the veg box delivery schemes.

    I do grow my own – herbs, leeks, kale, greens, radishes, potatoes, courgettes, apples, blackcurrants, sweetcorn, but can only produce small amounts. I hope to be able to invest in improving my soil and having the time to grow more in the future. (Or better yet moving to a place with some land.)

    I live in quite a rural/farming area so I can’t speak for the whole country, but here gardening is very popular. A lot of people have their own gardens and grow some produce. If you don’t have a garden here, you can apply to the local council for an ‘allotment’ – where you are allocated a section of agricultural land for a very low price. These are very popular. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotment_(gardening)

    Goodness, I think this is my longest comment ever! I’d better stop now. I enjoyed reading this post and look forward to reading more on the subject. Take care x

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    1. Kim: Thank you so very much for your sharing what the availability of food looks like in your community. Very interesting. A very real source of information and really adds to the quality of my post. So appreciated.

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  3. So happy that you share your thoughts… blogging gives us that opportunity!
    Fresh is best… is my motto. Love roadside stands etc.
    Funny story… just saw an apple inside my sisters fridge. IT WAS HUGE! Her husband said he loved the apple yesterday she packed for him for golf. He said he started it on the 4th hole and didn’t finish it until the 9th hole. His golfing buddies could not believe how big the apple was.
    We were all laughing about it… but WHAT on earth made that apple SO HUGE?!?! Something to seriously think about…..

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    1. Exactly. Strawberries is another consideration. Or just how long one of those new ‘cantaloupes’ will last in the refrigerator and still be edible.
      My latest home based experiment had one lasting eight weeks in my fridge and still ‘fresh.’ I have no clue how old it was before I bought it!
      The truly science fiction but true part is that the genetic modifications will mix plants with critters, food with shrubbery…

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    1. Thank you Donna. I am so new to blogging I wonder every time if anyone is interested in what I have written, and I am really wrestling with this idea of self disclosure.
      As I was writing this piece, I realized that I had to speak about what personal perspective I was bringing to this issue of food, and then I realized I had so much to say about it that I had to just focus on defining some of the terms of how we talk about food. I think many people are like you, very concerned…and rightly so about exactly what it is we are buying at the stores. The beautiful photos and promotional words on the packages are not the actual contents, or back story of what we are actually ingesting and feeding to our families…and pets.

      I really appreciate your feedback on this particular piece.

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