J500 Media and the Environment

Livin’ La Vida Loca-vore by Janie
February 6, 2009, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , ,

“Eww!  It’s staring at me!  That’s so gross.”  – quote courtesy of my sister, who will not be named.

In Taiwan, it is not unusual to be able to look into the eyes of what you’re consuming.  The farmer’s market beside my grandparent’s apartment is lined with whole carcasses of meat: chickens and ducks strung up like laundry on a line, fish and squid presented on  ice like aquatic champagne.  Hundred’s of eyes following you as you stroll amongst the fresh produce, soil and earth still on their leaves.

I know it sounds crazy, eating fish that looks like fish.  But doesn’t it sound crazier not to?

Our modern food industry caters our food ignorance with beef, chicken, fish, nicely packaged and minus heads and tails.  The slaughter and hormone-injection happen miles away and the distance washes the blood from our hands.  In our desires to separate the ourselves from the beasts, we have created a system not only environmentally harmful, threatening to our health, and perpetuating the fossil fuel problem, but has also created an unsustainable and anthrocentric world view.  The world has become our oyster, and we intend to consume it with a little thyme garnish.

So is eating locally the solution?  In a way, yes and no.  Eating locally, frequenting farmer’s markets, and buying from local farms can help support a food system that is more sustainable and beneficial to your health, the environment, and the local economy.  However, is it plausible for to support our current society on a local diet?  Behind the environmental, economical, and health issues lies the simple fact that a population of 7,000,000,000+ has to eat, and eat we shall until more dramatic, evident pressures arise that force us to change.

Janie Chen

photo from flickr.com


7 Comments so far
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Your sister’s comment, and your question about eating an animal that looks *gasp* like that animal, points to one of the major disconnects in our society — and a disconnect that we who do not use animals (for food, clothing, testing, etc) would love more people to bridge. I think it much easier for the average consumer (whether or not they are buying locally) to do so without asking too many questions when they don’t have to connect Babe with the bacon or the family pet rabbit with the cleaning product in their shopping carts.

Comment by marybethw

After researching the local eating movement, I kind of came to the same conclusion: Obviously there are huge advantages for locavorism, but it’s just not totally plausible yet. I think food choices should lie in a combination of factors (locality, packaging, production process, etc.).

Comment by jessicasb

Your comment on Matt’s post was so interesting! I never stopped to think about how far certain cultural foods travel in order to bring traditional tastes to diasporas all over the world.

Comment by brennad87

It is really scary to think about the world’s carrying capacity. You mention that it might not be possible to feed the entire population locally. But what about when we can no longer feed the entire population? We are growing so fast and though we are bending the environment by genetically engineering plants and medicating our beef, we will still reach a certain point when we just don’t have enough resources. And honestly– we might be hit by a curve ball in the system sooner than we hit carrying capacity. If one little thing goes wrong– say a corn blight develops– our man-made system could crash, leaving millions starving.

Comment by brennad87

Mary Beth,
I definitely think humans have lost their place in the world. We’ve removed ourselves so much from the environment around us. A great book I read this summer is “The Sacred Balance” by David Suzuki. It’s about rediscovering our place on earth in connection to all the other living organisms here. You should check it out!

Comment by janiec52

I definitely think the disconnect between meat and animals is a big part in out meat eating. The article Brian Welsh makes it clear how he thinks the connection to him and his animals is an important factor in his appreciation for the meat he eats. I feel like all these articles are making me scoot nearer to being a vegetarian!

Comment by amandat09

[…] meeting these farmers and gardeners and hearing their stories, I too suffered from a severe case of food disconnect.  I never realized how deep, how enjoyable and spiritual, our relationship with food […]

Pingback by This is the Story of a Seed « J500 Media and the Environment

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