I have yet to meet a human being who doesn’t need food to survive.
It just doesn’t exist. Every one of us needs nourishment. We all share the same general requirement for food to generate energy in our bodies. Not all understand or appreciate the food in their lives. The world is riddled by food-related problems…hunger, malnourishment, undernourishment, eating disorders, obesity, drought, famine…whether it’s by quantities which are too large or too small, problems with food abound across the globe.
Doesn’t that make things like whether or not you’d eat meat, whether your cattle are grass-finished or corn-raised…doesn’t that make it seem petty to have such heated arguments over this?
American has the strongest agricultural presence in the world. It also has the most diverse array of growing systems and methodologies. It is a leader in production of thousands of different raw goods, food included. We should all be taking a step back and appreciating the diverse food system that the United States has to offer, and being grateful for the rights and the choices we have each day in regards to our nutrition.
These arguments about what’s “better” are petty. We all have a right to choose how our food is produced and how much we’re willing to pay in both time and money to have that food. Every system has its benefits and set-backs; pasture-raised, confinement, corn-fed, grass-fed, organic, “conventional,” large, small…the fact is, we are lucky. We are part of a place where many, if not most, don’t have to worry about where their next meal comes from. We don’t often have the fear of starvation or malnutrition.
If we did, we wouldn’t be taking sides about where our food comes from, who raised it, and how.
So, in honor of World Food Day, which is coming up on October 16, I suggest we all take a moment to appreciate the depth of our options, and the people who exercise their right to bring you healthy, plentiful, affordable food, in a variety of ways. Thank farmers and ranchers for their work. Thank grocers and butchers and processors for making the food system more accessible. We no longer have to raise our own food, if we don’t want to. We don’t have to butcher our own meat or cultivate our own gardens.
Many people do for hobbies, but that in and of itself speaks of how fortunate we are. What many people do just to survive, we have the ability to do “for fun.”
Think about it.
Next time you read about malnutrition, starvation, obesity, eating disorders, world hunger, or shortages, remember how fortunate you are to have the choices we have. Because, in reality, food is both a source of and solution to many, many problems.
For more information regarding World Food Day, see here.