Full Share: Saute Mix, Salad Mix, Arugula, Spring Onions, Radishes, Chard, Baby Bok Choy, and Cilantro
Partial Share: Saute Mix, Salad Mix, Spring Onions, Kale, Baby Bok Choy, and cilantro
Hello CSA members!
I’m proud of you. I offered you up light and fluffy, and I didn’t get a single taker. Nope, everyone I heard from wants informative, deep, and challenging. There is a saying in local politics, that the decisions get made by those who show up. So, if you didn’t make a comment, I hope you still enjoy the ride.
I’m not really going to talk about the 1972 Russian wheat failure. But, the 1970’s do mark a formative time in our country’s agriculture and food system. It was during this decade that the USDA moved away from the New Deal era policy of protecting food prices and farmers by managing supply, and instead embraced a system of all out production. Then secretary of the USDA, Earl Butz, infamously told farmers to “get big or get out” and to plant corn and soybeans “fencerow to fencerow”. These policies still exist today, and have created a hyper-efficient and highly centralized food system that produces cheap processed food for consumers, and high profits for food processing and chemical agribusinesses.
And the average American seems to love the concept of ” cheap, easy, and convenient”. But there have been some troubling side-effects of this system, and these policies. I mean, there is this issue with excess carbon in our atmosphere. Did you know almost a third of it comes from agricultural production? (And while we’re debating all the ways to mitigate climate change, we could start by putting a third of it back in the soil by reducing tillage and keeping crops growing in the ground?) We’ve also lost half the topsoil in the world in the past 150 years due to agricultural practices. Oh, and the suicide rate of commodity farmers in this country is 4 times the national average. And rural communities are disappearing. And we have pesticide residue on our food, and detectable levels in our rain, mothers breast milk, and drinking water in many places. And there’s that dead spot in the gulf of Mexico, and…..well, you get the point. There are a lot of reasons why our society really needs to rethink how we grow food.
But none of these things I just mentioned really seem to capture the attention of the average American. I mean, if Farm Aid concerts haven’t achieved anything (rain on the scarecrow, blood on the plow), what hope do we have? But I do think that this is about to change, for one really good reason. Nutrition. Or more precisely, the lack of nutrition in our food, and the troubling health statistics that we are beginning to see in this country. Cancer rates, diabetes, autism, Alzheimers, chronic inflammation, etc…..my guess is that all of these stem from gut health, and therefore the foods that we eat. We can’t treating symptoms, and claiming the causes are unknown. There seems to be an awakening occurring in the corners of our medical and health care industry that is finally acknowledging the gut biome. Yeah, sure, Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine” back in 400 BC, but he didn’t monetize the idea, and so it didn’t catch on. Will human health and nutrition finally be the issue that causes us to demand less toxins and more nutrition, both of which are a function of better agricultural practices? More importantly, can we finally shift the “mindset” away from “growing crops”, and towards “growing food”?
I don’t have the answers, but I do know this. All food is not created equal, and as both farmers and eaters support each other to grow an economy around healthy, nutritious food, maybe we will finally start to see some positive change in our food system (and planet)? So, thanks for doing your part by seeking out nutritious food and supporting local organic agriculture.
I’ve just been stalling because I can’t come up with a good recipe for the sauté mix 🙂
If anyone is struggling with the greens, or wants to make use of things like the radish tops, I have a simple suggestion. Simply take the kale (remove stems), or radish tops, or sauté mix for that matter, and blend it in a food processor or Vitamix with copious amounts of olive oil. This creates a great “pesto” spread that can then be used in so many different ways, and stored in the fridge in a Tupperware container. Spread it on toast or eggs, on your steak or chicken, in pasta or noodles, ….the uses are endless and delicious.
Whitefish market starts tomorrow! See you all at CSA pickup.