Recently an email landed in my inbox from a gentleman named Sam. I clicked it open and the first line was a question.
Have you heard of Food Patriots?
In light of it being non-GMO month, I was intrigued by the name and read more.
This story is about a Midwestern mom, Jennifer, whose son became really sick from contaminated chicken. This prompted her to start asking questions about our food system.
Talk about an interesting parallel to my own life, and the lives of so many of us in the US. My daughter had major food allergies which was the reason I stopped to ask that one little question…..
Watching the family’s food journey was both funny and enlightening. What started from a sickness led to a backyard garden, to adventures with a chicken coop and a visit to those trying to bring back an urban version of the Victory Garden.
USDA Victory Garden messages flashed by on the screen encouraging people to do unheard of activities such as growing a garden, canning and (gasp!) owning chicken coops.
Imagine a USDA ad that said “Save Money the Easy Way, Grow a Garden. It’s Thrifty! It’s Patriotic! Plant Today!”
My how things have changed from the old days.
Now we get “Where’s the Beef?”, and “Got Milk?” (All packed with hormones and antibiotics.)
Because of current standard agricultural practices, and indirectly, governmental subsidies, we are battling what the Midwestern Mom’s son battled. Increasing instances of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Not only are we prescribed antibiotics like candy, they are fed to our cows, pigs and chickens to enable them to live in unsanitary conditions that would cause any normal animal to perish. Her son almost died from this. Thankfully for all of us he was a strong football player and lived to tell the tale.
Just last week my friend’s young son also was diagnosed with an antibiotic resistant strain of Staph and when I messaged her about it, she said she knew of four others in the past six months. SCARY. But what can we do about it?
The message throughout the movie is one of acceptance that change is not easy, but every little bit counts. Event 10% change.
Here is what this looks like – instead of getting a Coke, Fries and Burger, forgo the coke and get water. Instead of conventional meat, get grass fed, organic meat (or better yet, try forgoing meat all together and eat more plant based meals….but I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.)
Get out there and garden, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. Another theme through the movie is sense of community this builds. You will always find likeminded people that care and that want to do good things.
Not shockingly, when they approached the government with their story they were met with apathy and indifference. Even at their town level, the officials debated on whether chicken coops would bring down already low property values and if they allowed chickens they would be forced to allow all sorts of crazy farm animals. Like goats.
How can one person, making 10% change help?
If everyone buys 10% more local, fresh and organic we can make some major changes. We are voting with our forks. It is time to DEMAND change. If the public school system continues to be indifferent to our children, it is up to US to take charge and vote. We get three votes a day. Talk about food and the state of food, but don’t force it. Enjoy the change. Savor it.
As Jennifer said, it’s “The Pleasure of doing the right thing.”
In the end, after viewing the movie, I realized that the gentleman that sent me the original email, Sam, is the very son of the Midwestern mom that survived to tell this tale. Kudos to you Sam, and thank you for allowing me to promote your movement.
At this time, Food Patriots is available for private screenings – click here for the details.