- Inexpensive food (hamburgers or chicken or milkshakes) prepared and served quickly
Many of you will wonder what I will be dealing with in “fast food,” since I have already dealt with the subject of the one-minute meal in the “takeaways” topic, but fast food is more than just fatty hamburgers, chicken drumsticks, and sickly soft drinks; fast food is anything you don’t grow yourself.
It will shock most of you to think that the local seasonal organic beans you have to soak overnight, before you cook and season before eating, are fast food, but they are. Anything you buy off the shelf is fast food. It doesn’t matter whether it is organic or local. The time taken to grow it from seed, nurture it, and harvest it, versus the time it took you to take it off the shelf and pay for it at the counter, makes it most definitely, fast food! So with that out of the way let us begin our discussion.
It is only in the last hundred years or so that food has been readily available, even in industrialised nations; it has been in limited supply during that time too – due to two world wars – but already we are reliant on it being constantly available. We wouldn’t know what to do if the food was not on the shelves of our local grocer or supermarket. We are dependent on someone else providing our food, and as if by magic, there is always a steady supply of seasonal and unseasonal vegetables, meat and fruit, appearing colourful and fresh at a reasonable price.
“That’s what I call progress,” I hear you cry. “Food for all! No more hunger.” And for the more well off that seems to be true; nothing but the finest organic vegetables and beef for them, though I’m afraid it’s chips and processed meat pies for the less well off, as fresh food is always more expensive than processed factory food.
Come on, you should know that. It’s only the better off who can afford to eat well. If you’re on a low income you’ll be surviving on fried potatoes and other cheap food high in fat to sustain you. Your health will suffer, but hey, if only you were more intelligent and better qualified you could get a better job, and then you could eat organic. Oh, and don’t even think of becoming a vegetarian on compassionate or health grounds; you just can’t afford it. You will be able to afford all the chocolate, crisps, and soft drinks though. They’re priced to sell at anyone’s budget.
Where does all this food come from?
Why do you need to know where your food comes from? All you need to know is that it’s here now, at price you can afford, so you should buy it, even if you don’t need it. You are a consumer, so consume, don’t ask silly questions that don’t concern you. I’m sure most of you don’t care anyway. As long as they have broccoli on the shelf, the mushrooms you like, or the piece of steak you want, you’ll be happy.
You have been lucky to grow up in a country that is able to supply surplus agriculture (a lot of which goes to waste), and there will always be enough food for you to eat.
Remember, the economy relies on you being well fed. No food equals no work. They’ll make sure there’s plenty to eat. Oh, for anyone reading this in a country where half your population is starving to death, this section doesn’t apply to you; please see sections on government, oh and weapons, oh, and corruption, amongst others…
I was born in scotland, in 1969, and grew up in southern england. I have never been short of anything in my life. The shelves in my local stores have always been full. My mother has never complained that the shelves were empty again. We have never wanted for any types of food.
Everything has always been available for as long as I can remember. All vegetables, all meats, all dairy, all packaged, all dried goods, and all sweets. Perfect. We haven’t suffered a day’s shortage of our most favourite items. But let’s imagine we did. Let’s all imagine that one day the food stopped coming. One day the shelves became empty permanently. What would you do?
“Where did all the food go?”
Suddenly the question “where does all this food come from?” doesn’t seem so stupid after all. Food, as those people who have lived through war or experienced any kind of dictatorship know, is also a weapon. Withholding food to gain the subservience of the population is an effective method of control. Think about it. I am not telling you this to scare you. On the contrary, I am trying to empower you as individuals. Whoever controls the food controls the people. Remember that.
Large scale farming operations are not a new concept. Man first domesticated animals several thousand years ago, and began to settle in one place and farm the land; agriculture was born. Over the centuries, the ability to feed more than just a single family proved a much more efficient method than everyone trying to grow their own food. It freed Man to become a specialist. It allowed cities to be built, new trades to start; it allowed people time to think, to invent, and create without the threat of starvation over them at all times. Although it has not been an easy road.
There have been many years of failed crops and the resulting deaths from hunger, but we are now in an envious position in the west (and many other developed countries) of having a real surplus of food. We now grow too much for our needs.
Unfortunately, it has led us becoming complacent. Who now worries they won’t get enough to eat tonight? Even the unemployed receive money from the government, which allows them to buy enough food, so I would like to talk about something which I believe to be vitally important and should be to you. I would like to talk about growing your own vegetables.
“What? Grow my own vegetables! I don’t have time for that, I’m much too busy, and I live in an apartment block.”
Hopefully, we all agree that eating vegetables is pretty good for us. They contain essential nutrients brain and body need for healthy operation; the problem is, they are also quite expensive – even in supermarkets – compared to filling, carbohydrate based food, or anything which comes pre-processed and pre-packaged. It always seems that the more nutritious something is for you, the more expensive it is.
That’s because when things are pure, you can’t add any cheap filler to them, which is precisely what large food manufacturers do. They use all sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients that (a) you’ve never heard of and (b) you don’t really want to have heard of! In the purest forms, unmodified, and untreated with chemicals, our fruit and vegetables are expensive to buy.
So what reason is there for you to buy them when you can get sweeter, more filling food for half the price? It may not be obvious to you if you have grown up on a diet of fish fingers, frozen burgers, potato croquettes, tinned veg, crisps, and cola drinks, but our system wasn’t designed for the stuff we throw down our throats! Does that surprise you?
Whether god created us, or we evolved from the apes, our highly advanced digestive systems weren’t expecting the sort of artificial junk we call food now.
Nature provides well, and has done for every other species for the past four billion years. Each species lives happily on their species specific diet of either meat, fish, insects, plants, or grass, and doesn’t waver from it.
You wouldn’t see a cow thinking, “Hmm, maybe I’ll have some meat tonight, or maybe some nice insects.” Why? Because the cow eats what is beneficial for the system. The human being on the other hand is a veritable jack of all trades when it comes to eating and drinking (all credit to our systems for coping with the regular abuse from all the unnatural substances we consume).
If evolution is to be believed, we came from the apes and ate a nut and fruit diet, which has evolved into a burger, chips, and cola diet over the past few million years. Progress? I don’t think so.
Without going too far off the track, what do you think large scale food manufacturing businesses are interested in? Are they interested in making sure no one goes hungry? No, that’ll be the government’s job. Are they interested in providing us with healthy food which has not been modified at the cellular level, or sprayed with harmful pesticides? No, of course not. Their job is to make money. Companies that produce food, whether it be tomatoes, or chocolate biscuits are in business, and they have to make a profit to survive. Why else would they be in business? They are no different to a company that wants to sell us a new tv, dvd player, or mobile phone!
Don’t tell me you’re too busy to care where your food comes from…
Food is the biggest consumer business of them all! Everyone’s a potential customer. You may already have a mobile phone or not want to buy a new tv, but you have to eat every day or you’ll die. That may sound a bit extreme, but it’s not. At best you’d last about two weeks with no food, and then your body would start to eat itself in order to survive. First the fat reserves, then the muscle. Then when there’s nothing left to burn, ultimately, death. If that isn’t a captive market, I don’t know what is!
The people starving in africa (and other regions where food is scarce), where crops fail regularly, and the economy is mismanaged by corrupt officials, will know this feeling all too well. But anyway, let’s not worry about them. We’re all right. We’ve got plenty. All the big agribusinesses make sure there’s always enough food to go around (at a price).
Food isn’t free of course. It’s part of the economy. The farms have large costs they need to recoup. Chemicals. Labour. Water. You know, the usual costs associated with running a business. Except this is not just any business, is it? This is our lives we’re talking about here. Shut down the farms, and the country withers away – very quickly.
Are you still not interested?
Years ago, there used to be such things as communities, where people did things for each other and for the benefit of others. But this was before my time, and probably before yours. This was before the individual was advised by his government leadership to stick his finger up at every one else, and say “I’m in it for me.” People were encouraged to only think about themselves, so what did they do? Like all sheep, exactly what they were told. Everything now had a price. No one did anything unless he could turn a quick profit on it.
People used to have vegetable and fruit gardens. My parents even had one for a short time in the seventies, but quickly grassed over it, because it became too much work to keep turning over the soil, and anyway, it was much easier to go down to the supermarket and buy beautiful looking produce, and anyway, my dad was too busy trying to make money to worry about a couple of carrots, and the birds usually got to the raspberries before we did…
In the past, everybody who had any space outdoors used to grow at least some vegetables; whether for economic, social, or historic, reasons, or grown merely as a hobby, it makes no difference; the fact is, that Man had control of his food. It may not have been everything he needed, but the fact he took the seed, planted it, watered it, watched it germinate, nurtured it as it grew, and finally harvested it, direct to his table, says more about the connection of Man to the earth than any other human activity.
Sharing the garden food amongst the community (i.e. neighbours) may seem alien to us now, but back when people had garden plots, they were happy to exchange some of one for type for some of another.
“What are you growing there, fred?”
“Cabbages & cauliflowers.”
“Do you need any broccoli? I’ve got plenty this year…”
“Yeah that’d be great; I’ll give you some cauliflowers and some cabbage in exchange.”
I can’t see that same conversation striking up in my local english commuter town where the supermarket is king, can you? The idea of growing your own food and sharing it (or even selling it) seems a rather quaint idea in the era of agribusiness where a cabbage patch less than a mile long isn’t worth planting.
Food is vital to the survival of our species, and every other species on earth, and it is about time we started waking up to the fact that the very thing that keeps us alive is now “voluntarily” out of our control and in the hands of the same people who sell us mobile phones. Large businesses.
Do you think these large businesses put the same kind of love and energy into the growing of their fruit and vegetables that fred put into growing his cabbages? Large food business is a production line, and there is no love on a production line.
The connection that Man had to the earth, through the cultivation of crops has long since vanished, replaced by profit margins and balance sheets.
Fruit and vegetables – whatever varieties in your particular country or region – are the most essential part of our diet. We can all do without meat, eggs, and dairy products and live healthily. I do! But without fruit and vegetables, I wouldn’t get the right amount of nutrients necessary each day to sustain a healthy system.
Are you a sheep?
Are you happy to allow someone else to have complete control over your food? Will you let business rule the food supply? Will you take back your role as a creator, and grow life sustaining food? Will you recreate the bond between Man and earth by planting and storing seed (which is necessary for life), or will you just carry on the way you are?
You eat healthily. You eat what they tell you you’re supposed to eat for a healthy lifestyle. You buy organic, you do your bit, and after all you’re a bit busy, but well, it could be a good talking point that “guess what, I am growing my own organic fruit and vegetables….” “Wow!” They will all say!
Or you could just not care, which is what most people will do, because after all, why should you bother! You’re too busy, and anyway it’s a good thing having big business in control of the food, because it’s a lot cheaper. And anyway you’re too tired after work…Wasn’t life supposed to be getting easier? Why make it harder? And now, the rest of you can join in!
“I live in an apartment, how can I grow my own fruit and vegetables?”
“I can’t see any point in doing this.”
“What’s in it for me?”
“Why spend all season growing something to get one meal out of it?”
“I could think of better ways to spend my days than digging the garden!”
“I am a one parent family on income support, what do you expect me to do, I have a hard enough life as it is!”
I don’t know, but I’m sure there are lots of you thinking “What is he going on about? Why is this so important?” Because, food is the key to the universe. Food is the energy that flows through your veins that developed the brain that took Man to the stars. With something that powerful, would you give control of it to a board of directors?
This topic is of the utmost importance to the world. Let’s show some respect to the work our ancestors put in over the last ten thousand years that has enabled us to have food on demand, and remember that whilst its production is in the hands of large businesses, and not individuals or communities supporting local communities, it can always be taken away again. Why would you let that happen?
Not only that, it’s fun and rewarding to watch a seed grow, then savour its taste as you harvest it and eat it for dinner! Wow! You’ll be involved in a process called life. What more could you ask for? Could you really say you have that involvement when you casually buy the strawberries packed in a punnet all neatly wrapped in plastic?
I am not so naive to think you will all stop purchasing all your products from anywhere else and attempt your own mini-farms in the suburbs. All I am doing is planting the seed…