The ecology of America’s rotting food

A lot has been written about the ecology of America’s rotten food. The book and movie, Food Nation, for example centers in on this American phenomena of bad factory food, leading to bad American taste, leading to bad American health. Fat city. If we keep gaining weight at the present rate our country’s population is doing, one perhaps can figure that the per capita weight per American will be about 10,000 tons apiece in the year 10,000. Holy hippopotamus! But what about the ecology of America’s rotting food? Just how much food does get thrown out? Here is what the food industry itself has to say. Half of US food never gets eaten.

If one looks closely at these statistics, we can see that the majority of the food waste does not come at the family table. According to this study, only 14% of what is bought gets wasted here. A family of 4 spends over $4,000 a year, and could save almost $600 in food costs, if only none of it went to waste. But since the supermarket actually passes much of its waste to the family home, really 14% is not that bad to throw out. Don’t blame the consumer then.

So how does the supermarket force waste on the consumer? Answer; by its constant promotions. For example, why buy 3 lbs of potatos at $0.59/ lb, if the grocer is pushing for you to buy 10 lbs for $1.29? What often happens, is that the consumer buys 10 lbs, then overeats to keep from throwing the food out. So he eats 5 lbs, and then tosses the other half of the then rotting remainder of potatos into the trash. Do we call all this efficiency of the capitalist system, liberty ,and democracy? Or do we call it a big rotten, rotting shame?

So where is all the other waste happening? When I lived in Oregon, I was amazed at how much rotten fruit was hanging in so many trees. At one time, the small family farm had produced orchads all over the state. But all those farmers got driven bankrupt, so their trees still produced fruit, but nobody was around still to pick it. Even the highways had both sides filled with ripe blackberries when in season. The bears were all bankrupt, too, so these delicious berries everywhere just rotted in the sun. All throughout the countryside, food is left to rot.

And look at our public schools. The kids get served about 3 times they could possibly consume, so that food gets thrown out in bushels. All under the guise of making sure nobody goes hungry. Yeah, but then again, all the kids grow fat. And they grow wasteful and slovenly, too.

Have you ever looked at the grocers themselves. High prices everywhere, but is it because what you consume is expensive? It’s more like what they throw away is what costs. You pay for the grocers’ inability to manage the transport of decent food at a decent price. Ever gone into Whole Foods on Academy Blvd.? Look at how many shopping carts are mostly empty. Why? Simply because the prices are too damn high. What do you think happens to all that unsold, high priced ‘organic’ food then? It just gets tossed into the garbage can. You pay for that with their higher prices. It’s all organic, though.

What a disaster all this is ecologically. The liberal sites were all carrying an article last week about the problems that high tech waste was causing ecologically. Computers, cell phones, compact discs, sex toys, tvs, etc. True enough. But to not eat half of the food produced in America is quite an ecological tragedy, too. The soils get worn down, blown away, and the rivers fill up with pig poop. And as grandma used to say,

“Eat all the food on your plate. There is a kid in India that is starving.”

I care, but I don’t think your average American business man gives a damn. He’s proud thinking about how efficient ‘free enterprise’ is in America, for making all of us grow so fat and growing mountains of food in double quantities we don’t really need.

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3 Responses to The ecology of America’s rotting food

  1. Avatar CJ says:

    The idea of “surplus” didn’t really exist here in North America until the Europeans arrived. Basically everyone just collected or killed what was needed, with the only “surplus” foods usually being dried roots and meats for winter. Once the Europeans realized that there was a lot of game to be killed for pelts, that was the beginning of the end for us indigeneous people. People started starving to death because the trappers were killing animals not for meat or fur for survival, but to sell in order to have fat wallets. Sad but true. It’s a shame we don’t teach these things in public schools to kids so they have a more realistic view as to how things came to be as they are today.

  2. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Funny that you mention the public schools and what they teach children there about Native Americans. Just yesterday my daughter was complaining about a school bully who says he hates Mexicans. But then again, he just did a pageant at the school dressed up in the role of being a proud ‘Indian’. My daughter’s mom is a Mexican national so she wanted to defend Mexicans against this little 10yo wannabe racist.

    I told her to ask him, just who do you think has more Native American blood in them, the White Anglos he’s so proud about, or the Mexicans? How many US Whites as white as the Arctic snow proudly now say they are supposedly partly Native American, and yet hate Mexicans and want them deported out of ‘our’ country? Pretty stupid, right?

    And then we got to talking about what she had learned about Colorado’s Native American tribes that the teachers at school had been talking about for several weeks? It turned out, not much. So I asked her if they had taught anything about the Inca, the Maya, or the Aztec? Huh, who are they?, was the response. Well then I told her, that explains why the little bully hated Mexicans but wanted to dress up like a supposed Native American would. Bad education.

    She had not even learned anything about the Navaho, Sioux, or the Cherokee neither. Again, I guess that shows the pitfalls of allowing White Americans to teach about Native Americans in the public schools. Even though the lessons were only about Colorado Native American tribes, the teachers my daughter has even forgot to teach her about what happened to the Colorado buffalo! Sad.

  3. Avatar CJ says:

    The race issue is always a tough one–especially when you teach public school; everyone is soooo trying to be PC that they avoid the “uncomfortable” topics. I would love to see D-11 here in the Springs using books like “9-11” by Chomsky or “A People’s History of the United States” by Zinn.

    The Indian issue gets me down often. (We say Indian in my family…friends out east prefer Native American). I just recently requested that our school take down a months old Gazette article that had a picture of the original Palmer High School Indian mascot; the article discussed the controversial image–which was a good thing. It was okay to post it for a while because the issue should be discussed, but after a while I got pretty sick of looking at the American Indian version of Little Black Sambo or some other such historically and equally racist image everytime I walked by. Our principal is a pretty good guy, so he respected my request.

    There are actually a lot of very white looking people who are racially mixed from a myriad of ethnic backgrounds. For example, both of my parents are 1/4 Indian making me 1/4 as well, but I have the most ghostly palour, and yet my sister is olive skinned! It’s also unsual when you don’t look “the part” because most people assume you should look another way; even within indigenious circles, sometimes one gets harassed or whatever because one isn’t “red” enough. It’s always amusing (and I mean that sarcastically) to find that some of the most marginalized people in society participate in marginalizing others within their own groups.

    The author Sherman Alexie has written some pretty damn funny stories on so many things we deal with and how mainstream society perceives and believes Indians “should” and are “supposed to” be. “Ten Little Indians” is absolutely worth a read; it’s made up of about 14 different stories about different Indians.

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