Go Back to the Garden
"Food, Glorious Food,” a song sung by Oliver Twist and his band of misfortunate waifs in the musical play, accentuates how vital and cherished local fresh food is to people’s survival. In dramatic contrast to Oliver’s era, today’s complex global food supply chain affords overwhelming quantity, quality and often exotic choices in miles of well-stocked aisles. Oliver would be astounded!
I am in special awe of my neighborhood produce section which, like your own, reflects one of the most diverse selections in the world. I have become accustomed to culling the best choices from brimming bins of appealing fruits and vegetables. A large percentage of such delights are not available in South Jersey even during local harvests, and the influx of new varieties seems to increase with each new season.
Because I am not confident about preparing foreign foods, which must reflect the influence of America’s melting pot and globetrotting citizens, I tend to move on to items I’m familiar with. Pausing to scan the entire market, I wonder how someone from densely-populated Calcutta or the jungles of Ecuador would react to such wealth.
For all of the abundant good, we too are subject to lurking monsters contributing to starvation and disease. So far they haven’t taken over the produce aisle, but they are prevalent elsewhere.
Did you know that of some 600,000 processed food items on the market, 80 percent contain added sugar? Much of it is the high-fructose corn syrup boogeyman.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO) comprise a huge threat and we are learning that we can’t count on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the best choices for our health. Why are GMO seeds being approved without the people’s consent? What are manufacturers hiding by refusing to note GMO ingredients on food labels? Why are organic standards being adulterated at the regulatory level? How can giant agribusiness control the majority of U.S. food production while they blatantly poison our food soil and water supplies? Their profit-driven goal appears to be to leave no food crop left free of manipulated genetics.
The more I know, the more I want to grow my own food. I am grateful for all those that have chosen to steward the land well and grow healthy organic food for their local communities. Melinda Hemmelgarn’s feature article, “Stewards of Earth’s Bounty,” offers encouraging signs of hope. Such pioneers have elected to stay connected with Mother Earth’s natural goodness and are keeping the dream alive for others to follow. We will all benefit from heeding their example, and in so doing, teaching them awareness and care in choosing truly nourishing foods for our children, so teaching them lessons they can pass along to theirs.
Summer’s farmers’ markets provide a rich source of local fresh goods. Fans love to visit one at least each week. The communal affect is contagious, it feels good to support good people working hard for us and it’s always affordable and delicious fun.
Let’s go back to the garden together,
Don Moore, Publisher