Organic Food Market. Submitted photo

“The road goes ever on and on. Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone…” (J.R.R.Tolkien)

Before I sat down to the computer this morning to do my daily writing, I sat pondering how far we’ve come from the days of living in a cave to the extreme of opulent mansions. The same road that lead to housing extravagance lead us to extravagant food. Even while many go hungry, the food industry calls some food “ugly,” implying it isn’t good enough for consumption. Instagram has led our perception of edible food with photos of elegant food preparation. Not so popular are folks like me who enjoy the occasional fancy feast but see the beauty in the simplicity of a basic hamburger or lettuce salad.

How we went down this road is complicated. Tolkien went on to write, “…Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say”. Maybe we were too eager. We are at the larger way where many paths and errands meet. We can choose to take care of topsoil, support a paradigm shift from government funding of invasive, destructive farming practices to budgeting, with follow-up, research of regenerative agriculture practices. With these two opportunities, we can feed ourselves and the world, food that is not intellectual property but rather nutrient-dense, honest food that serves humanity in concert with nature.

Until relatively recent years, organic wasn’t a thing. Now we have regular, hydroponic, or organic. The Organic Foods Protection Act of 1990 requires organic farmers to “foster soil fertility”. While we want to be sure we don’t degrade the meaning and value of organic, the definition of organic needs rearticulating to include hydroponics which use organic fertilizers and ensure the goodness we get from organic soil production. Hydroponic food can be nutritionally dense and necessary in some parts of the world where growing in soil is prohibitive. Also, as part of organic practices and labeling, for a value-added approach, closed-loop practices using solar, biomass, and reduced water usage should be incentivized.

Monoculture, untested chemicals, toxic pesticides, and genetically modified are considered “regular”. Do you know there are over 1,000 untested chemicals in our food system? The New York Times published an article in 2017 titled The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese in which they reported researchers had found “plasticizers” in kid’s mac and cheese made from powdered cheese. Plasticizers are known to disrupt hormonal balance in children’s development.

Here’s our opportunity. Our bodies are resilient. A small peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Research suggests that in six days of switching to organic, we can relieve our bodies of toxic buildup. Of course, there are other factors involved, and organic isn’t pure magic, but the results seem magical because the switch is to nutritionally dense food that our bodies can utilize.

Find ways to grow organic at home — container planting, greenhouses, gardens, vertical towers. Start making small changes.

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