(In the interest of blogger etiquette, you’ll have to click through the links below to see the charts since I didn’t create them myself. But keep reading for even more fuel for the why we need to change our food system argument and how a co-op can do its small part.)
I’ve been meaning to share this post from Grist’s food section for a long time. You can see the date, I’ve had it sitting in my queue since April. Better late than never!
The main point is that from 1970 to 2008 the American food system has gone from producing 2,168 calories per day per person to 2,673 calories per day per person. As if consuming about 500 more calories per day weren’t bad enough (not to mention the toll that producing 500 extra calories per day per person for about 105 million more persons takes on the environment), the portion of those calories that come from added sugar and added fat (the sugar and fat not naturally found in whole foods but added to food during its processing) has gone from 37 percent to 41 percent. Basically, on average, we’re producing/consuming 300 more calories from added sugar and added fat per day than the average bell-bottom wearing, Grand Funk Railroad listening 1970 American.
So if you click through to the Grist post it will take you to another post that has a fun (wait, I mean horrifying) chart that shows the change in the make-up of the American diet between 1970 and 2008. 2008 is the last year of available data. I have a feeling it hasn’t gotten better since then. Silly Grist even suggests that if the food processing industry simply cut the number of calories per person per day that it produces down from 1100 to 550, our total caloric intake would be back around where it was in 1970. You know… when everyone was skinny (though, in fairness, a lot of the skinniness was achieved by smoking).
As if those numbers and charts weren’t enough to send you into a rage for change, Vegansaurus rages on about another pretty well known inequity in our food system: the percentage of agricultural subsidies that go towards meat and dairy (that would be 63) vs the percentage that goes towards fruits and vegetables (that would be 1). Grains, sugar, starch, oil and alcohol combine for 35 percent.
I highly recommend that you click through to read what she has to say if you’re looking for some colorful language to take with you to your next cocktail party when you can preach to your friends about these issues (which probably explains why I don’t get invited to as many cocktail parties as I used to). She says something about a breast pump and social change that you won’t want to miss.
So, loyal readers, any idea what we can do about this situation? Even more importantly, how can a co-op become an agent of this change? This isn’t a quiz so there are no wrong answers. Fire away in the comments.
(Oh yeah… and if you haven’t done so already “Like” us on Facebook and vote for us in this great contest sponsored by Intuit. We could part of $50,000 in grants toward start-up costs!)