Per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Food Security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” When it comes to obtaining food, we all want to make sure we have enough. That’s where the “sufficient” part comes in, but what about the “safe and nutritious” part? Too often those aspects take a back seat or are reduced to meeting minimum government guidelines. Consumers either assume that food is safe and nutritious or place more importance on quantity. This has led to a prevalence of diet related health disorders in our country today. Instead of looking for the next “2 for 1” deal at the grocery store, I encourage you to focus on the thought: follow the trail.
If you buy a used car, you can get a “car report” detailing the history of the car before it reached you. Was the car in an accident? If so, it may impact how the car operates for you now. Did someone make an illegitimate “repair” to the vehicle before you bought it? We don’t want our car breaking down before its time.
Before we hire a new employee, we ask for references, we contact previous employers, we even want to know the candidate’s schooling. All these factors could impact your new employee’s future effect on the company. Following a trail with a car or employee is considered normal and acceptable, maybe even mandatory.
However, this is often not true when it comes to food. We throw food into our bodies with great abandon. Look at the ingredient labels on some of the foods in your house right now. Most of the time we do not consider where our food was grown, flown, processed, cooked, delivered or who it was served by.
Is it too hard to believe that what we put in our bodies today will affect us now and in the future? So, why then do we not care about the history or trail of our food? I don’t know about you, but the fewer people handling my food before I eat it, the better. I am not suggesting that the handling of your food is intentionally bad. What I am suggesting is that the more your food is handled and the longer it takes to get to your plate, the less nutritious and health giving it will be.
The car analogy lives on with food: the higher the miles, the worse shape it will be in.
If your health matters to you, then start thinking about your food security:
» Buy food from a local farmer who cares about the health of their soil.
» Look for ingredients in products at the store that you can pronounce and recognize as food.
» Learn how to cook. Start with one meal. We challenge you to learn more about your food starting today! By learning more about your food, you can ensure a more safe and nutritious meal for you and your family.
Jake Lambrecht is the Urban Farm Manager at Nourish and manages the Educational Urban Farm on Geele Avenue.