Thursday, October 16, 2008

Public Service Announcement

I wandered across an interesting article the other day. It is called "Farmer in Chief" and was written by Michael Pollan. He is very much into local foods, organic practices, some would say "elitist" foods. It is a really long read, but it was worth it. Basically, he talks about how the next president needs to address farm policy in America. The current system of paying people to produce commodities instead of real food is hurting us in many ways. We eat cheaply, maybe, but it is really poor quality food. The amount of oil that goes into the production of these foods hurts our environment. It just reinforces my desire to have a large and productive garden/ farm some day. He says that farmers in the Andes mountains follow an 8 year rotation plan- 5 years per plot for grass and beef cattle, then 3 years for wheat or corn. They use less fertilizer and pesticide because these things balance each other. How awesome is that. That is the kind of stuff I want to learn, that I am trying to learn. If we stay in our house next year, I am not growing corn. I'm going to grow peas or beans in that plot instead, to revitalize the plot.

He also talks about how changing the way food is produced and the kinds of foods produced will affect our health. Here is a sobering statement:
"The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in three American children born in 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes. The public needs to know and see precisely what that sentence means: blindness; amputation; early death. All of which can be avoided by a change in diet and lifestyle." How can we change our diets when the cheapest/ easiest foods are also the worst for us?

Another quote:
Talking to the President: "And you should also let it be known that the White House observes one meatless day a week — a step that, if all Americans followed suit, would be the equivalent, in carbon saved, of taking 20 million midsize sedans off the road for a year." We are trying to implement a meatless dinner once a week. It is harder than it seems at first, but it really does make a difference (and by meatless I don't mean fake meat. That to me, doesn't count. Plus I don't entirely trust soy products...). I've been checking out lots and lots of vegetarian cookbooks. It is so hard to find veggie cookbooks that don't rely on fake meat products or canned veggies. Really, you would think that they have more class than that. Maybe I am just picking the wrong books. Of course I am choosing blindly too. Of course, you can take your favorite dishes and omit the meat. There is nothing wrong with a veggie chili with lots of different kinds of beans. Or a marinara sauce over pasta with no meat. As always I am trying to branch out and try new foods and different combinations. I get so bored after a while. Maybe something will come of it, maybe not. Alann and I were talking the other night about what we would want house/farm wise and what we would need moneywise for me to stay home and tend it. It really depends, but it's got me thinking. He said "so we could start raising rabbits for food now right?" Well, yes. The county has no restrictions on that, and bunnies are relatively low maintenance and good breeders. But that isn't something I want to take on right now. We would have to house them in the garage during winter, and it just wouldnt be feasible. Maybe someday when we have a barn and they can move inside or outside depending on the weather. But that's another subject.

In sad news, Nemo has moved on to that big ocean in the sky. He lived here at work with me. He was the fish that my mother-in-law bought me for my birthday two or three years ago. I don't remember if it was before or after we moved here. Either way, he was old. He's been sick lately, and hasn't been eating, and just sitting on the floor of the tank. I changed the water and tried the swim bladder meds, but he didn't improve. I figured he was going to die. I wanted to put him out of his misery since I couldn't fix it, but I wasn't sure of an appropriate action. RIP Nemo. Maybe I will replace you, though no one can replace my first beta, Fishy Fishy Glub Glub. He also lived to a ripe old age of 3, though one of my friends spent a good hour "petting" him the first night I got him. I was sure he was done for. I'm good with my betas, obviously, though my boss accused me of not taking care of him since I didn't take him to the vet. I guess I just don't get attached to animals that don't return any kind of affection (cough Jersey cough). I like them, sure, but I'm not terribly upset. I'm sure Weston will be upset next time he comes to visit and can't feed the fish.

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