GC has always been a little nutty about food and diet. We were both vegetarians for awhile, we went on to be vegan for a couple years, then GC got really into body building and ate more animal product than I care to write about, ugh. When the Roc was diagnosed with Autism 2+ years ago we quickly started reading everything we could, and of course heard about the different diets that benefit many people with Autism. A few months later we slowly started the GFCF diet and truly believe the Roc has benefited from the removal of certain foods. This past summer we started doing more research on what is really in the mainstream supply of food. Being the “all in” type of guy that he is, GC voraciously researched everything about food. He read books, online articles, listened to pod casts, rented food documentaries, and he talked non stop about food. He tends to get really amped up about something he is researching so I didn’t really pay attention until we started to watch the documentaries.
That’s when I really learned about our food supply. The way our food has changed in the past few decades. What Genetically Modified really means. Here I thought GM was something like taking a granny smith apple and crossing it with a pink lady to get a new kind of apple. WRONG! GM means plants are altered at the molecular level. Now we have plants that produce and release a pesticide to kill certain kinds of bugs, plants with terminator genes so the seeds can’t be saved and replanted, plants altered to withstand the onslaught of being sprayed with Roundup, shrimp and other non-plant DNA in plants, etc. The lack of long term testing on the effects of GM foods. The way seed patents have hurt family farmers. The nutrition that has been lost from everyday produce. Not only does GM food have me worried, other things about our food do as well. The pesticides. The fertilizers. The concentration of animal feces in toxic waste lagoons. Growth hormones. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The 4 big corporations that control so much (and I used to work for one of them, I was a chemist at a corn milling plant.) Feedlots. Chickens that never see the light of day and are so altered that they grow and gain weight so fast that their legs cannot even support them and they fall down after taking a few steps. Cows that are by nature intended to graze grass, being fed not only grain their multiple stomachs cannot digest, but also blood and the meat of downer cows. The physiological and psychological stress the animals raised for consumption in this country endure.
Michael Pollan wrote in his essay Food with a Face: “More than any other institution, the American industrial animal farm offers a nightmarish glimpse of what Capitalism can look like in the absence of moral or regulatory constraint. Here, in these places, life itself is redefined-as protein production-and with it, suffering. That venerable word becomes ‘stress,’ an economic problem in search of a cost-effective solution…. The industrialization-and dehumanization-of American animal farming is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: no other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do.”
That is what really did me in, and turned me on about turning away from the big name animal products at the local grocery store. The stress, the suffering, the basic going against the nature of the animal and the way farming should be. So we joined a Amish co-op and have been getting all of our eggs, meat, and dairy products from a fully sustainable Amish family farm. Yup, GC and I have been drinking raw, unpasteurized milk, (just like many of your grandparents used to drink), since August. I was skeptical, a little worried I would get sick, and the mire fact that I loved skim milk, but the raw milk, oh my! The taste, the creaminess…yum is the only word I have for it. (I haven’t gotten sick, in fact, I think my immune system may be stronger as GC and I have gone through the whole of winter without nary a sniffle, AND GC has not had to take his daily asthma medication since the summer-explain that to me!) GC also found an organic CSA near his work and we bought our produce there over the summer all the way into November and have been supplementing with organic produce we find at the local health food store until the CSA starts up again in the early spring. We cut out a lot of processed food, so we have those extra pennies to put towards fresh, organic produce. Anything we can buy at the grocery store down the street doesn’t even come close to the taste of the fresh, locally grown, organic produce we’ve been eating. And now we want to grow our own.
And so beings the next phase. Our own garden, from scratch.
We started our garden project this weekend by getting some organic seeds, organic seed starter, and planting our seeds.
The Roc even got in on the action.
After seeing the $65 price tag for a small grow light, GC decided to build his own.
Now I’m anxiously waiting to see if the seeds germinate.
I hope they do.