A Chicken in Every Pot

 

 A chicken in every pot. Herbert Hoover said that as a promise of prosperity to the American people. The measure of the nations prosperity is its ability to feed it’s people. For a family to have full tummies. By the way, that promise was for every pot not just some, not most, all.   The second part of that quote happens to be “and a car in every garage” Well, ask Al Gore how that’s turning out.

The right to breathe clean air and to drink clean water are traded away like carbon chits. Yet we sense this is fundamentally wrong. These are inalienable rights. Just by being a member of this planet we have a right to roam and graze from this living orb of which we are such an integral part.

When I was a child I was aware that there were children starving. I saw their faces, beyond caring about the flies landing on them, and bloated bellies on CARE ads. Later it was the Ethiopian crisis and Bob Geldoff who shone the international light of the irrefutable power to make a difference. (for good or ill)

In the seventies global corporations seized the opportunity in these nations. In paternalistic and patronizing terms they moved in, took over and shipped in fertilizers. In retrospect that was to the earth a lot like the first free hit of crack to the future addict. Corporations like Dupont and Monsanto became very rich.

 So now we have shortages of rice in the Philippines. I couldn’t help but reflect on the variety of things Made in the Philippines. Just not enough rice.

The Punjab used to be known as the Bread Basket of India. The Punjab is in crisis. Farmers are struggling. It is not because they can’t work the soil. Based on crop harvest per acre, the small farms are 10x more efficient than the corporate owned monster farms. But the huge farms, by virtue of their size, control the food economy from the producers to the processors to distributers. They are not interested in efficiency of the small farm. They are interested in the greatest return to investors at any cost. The cost quite simply has been the desiccation of the land through unsustainable farming practices. Rape and pillage by the conquerers is what comes to my mind. 

 37% of grain grown is fed to animals. 40% of the fish caught. Let’s leave corn for biofuel out of this for now.

10 years ago I listened to a farmer interviewed on CBC on world “where does your food come from”  day. Food, he said traveled an average of 1200 miles to get to the table. Now its 1800. Since the US hit peak oil production in 1971 and fuel prices have climbed since, he asked the question “How long do you think we can keep that up?” I ask “is it even ethical to keep it up?” He said that in 20 years (10 to go) the only people who will eat will be those who live on the McMansions built on an acre where they can plant a garden and keep a goat. Seems impossible for those of who have never know rationing or scarcity or hunger. But look at the shrinking farmland. We plant unsustainable car dependant housing developments on farmland now because farmers can’t make anything but the hardest of livings. Go ahead and look for local produce but don’t be surprised at how hard it is to find. We want what we want when we want it and we want it cheap at any other cost but bucks. That means killing  the soil and livelihood and sometimes citizens in other places. It means sometimes making workers sick to death with pesticides we wouldn’t dream of exposing ourselves to.

What do I want? I want you to demand local produce in your markets and pay what it’s worth. Buy from local farmers and farmers markets. Become a locavore. If that means a chicken in your backyard insures a protein source than demand the right to keep that chicken.  I want you to eat less meat. Our appetitie for meat starves others.  Refuse produce from countries with abusive policies to the environment or to its labourers. I want you to demand food security from your government administrators. We are not children and they are not wise and all benevolent parents. We govern our destiny for a while.  Plato said, one of the penelties of not becoming involved in politics is to be governed by your inferiors.  Ask questions, get involved, use the power of your consumer dollar. It is your right and all our rights all over this globe to a chicken in every pot.

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2 Responses to “A Chicken in Every Pot”

  1. sengdroma Says:

    We love meat and we love the world.

    On our farm we are getting Yak – they are the future as far as I am concerned. Only grass fed – no grain, no meds, no hay. You bank your grass up for winter and feed them that. They eat way way less than a cow, and the whole animal can be used. They are also 97% lean in fat.

  2. liannesnow Says:

    Thanks for the education yak lover. That is something I’m sure I’ve never seen in my Ontario travels. How much property do you need to keep a yak, I wonder. A couple of weeks ago some Toronto urbanites came out of the closet (chicken coop?) and declared they were keeping chickens. Keep in mind this city just repealed a bylaw forbidding air/line drying clothing. Unsightly, don’t you know. Funny enough, rabbits and pigeons are ok in the city provided they are used only for sport. Figure that one out.

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