Tomorrow Is Food Day: Embrace Your Choices, Enjoy The Bounty10/23/2012 11:54 AM
For those of us who read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books about life in the late 1800s, we can all agree that learning more about that time was fascinating and entertaining. But, most of us can also agree that we wouldn’t want to live that lifestyle, especially women. If you recall, the majority of “Ma” Ingalls’ days revolved around growing food, prepping food, canning and preserving food and cooking food.
As we celebrate Food Day tomorrow, it is a good time to consider how modern farming has freed most Americans to work in other industries and endeavors. Like the Ingalls family, many of us still have home gardens, bake our own bread or can vegetables. But most do so because they want to, not because they have to.
The reality is that today’s farmers have greatly increased our access to a wide and diverse array of healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables. Consumers also have more choices in where they source or purchase their foods. They can choose to make a special trip to a farmers market or get their produce from community farms. But, the majority of us still prefer the convenience of purchasing our food at the grocery store because it allows us more time to do other things.
This increased access to fruit and veggies has directly coincided with a decrease in cancer rates and heart disease and a longer life expectancy. In fact, a peer reviewed study published last week found that 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented if half of Americans increased their consumption of fruits and veggies by a single serving.
Ironically, that healthy tide is turning. Fruit and vegetable consumption is stagnating and obesity rates are soaring. This is occurring despite repeated calls from health officials, the government, the nutrition community, consumer advocates and environmental groups for us to eat more organic and conventionally grown produce to improve health.
At the Alliance for Food and Farming, our goal is to provide consumers with more information so that they can make educated choices about the fruits and vegetables they purchase. But, we also work to reassure consumers about the safety of organic and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Our hope is that as consumers learn more about how organic and conventional produce is grown and who is growing them – they’ll consume more. (Our “Ask the Experts” section of this website gives consumers the opportunity to hear directly from farmers about organic and conventional production practices and why growing safe food is their highest priority.)
Tomorrow’s Food Day is a “celebration and movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food.” It serves as a good reminder for everyone to embrace today’s choices and enjoy the bounty of fruits and vegetables available to us. And, most importantly, be thankful for our farmers.