Thursday, 11 February 2016

Good food is our right

Over the years, as I have gotten more and more into producing food, I have learnt a lot - from visiting sites, talking with practitioners and academicians, as well as experimenting on my own.   Along the way, I have grown to believe more and more that good food is one of our basic rights.  Most commercially driven food producers put profits above all else and why not, that is the purpose that they are in that business.  Whilst some have maintain some honesty and ethics, many have excuses for why they do what they do.
The most favourite excuse is: To keep cost down.

  1. Usage of chemical pesticides and fertilisers to simplify the production of fruit and vegetables as well as to cut down on costs.  You do not require as many people in comparison to natural, organic farming.  You can also mechanise a major portion of your production by setting up "automatic" chemical fertilising and pesticide control.
  2. Usage of unclean waste such as human wastes (which can contain all sorts of things including chemicals from medication, etc.)
Excuse #2: To increase production
  1. Usage of chemical pesticides to prevent pests.  After all, many say, after 21 days the food is safe to eat.  If you worry about pesticides, you can further clean it with other chemicals to remove the pesticides.  The reasoning: only a small amount of toxic chemicals may remain so it is almost negligible so no effect.  Really?
  2. Usage of chemical hormones.  The hormones are targeted mainly for two things: 1. to increase the size or quantity produced and 2. to force the tree or plant to produce enabling almost on-demand production.  
Excuse #3: To produce consistent quality produce
  1. Genetically modifying plants and trees to produce consistent "grade", taste and size produce.  Amongst the favourites locally are bananas and durians.
  2. Usage of chemical hormones to control growth.
  3. Usage of chemical fertilisers as this can be applied more precise.
Over the years, we have seen more and more people develop allergies to common food like chicken, eggs, fruits, etc.  To my own non-expert mind, it is only logical.  When we have continued to consume toxic chemicals and hormones which no one has done a long-term study on or have studies done and the recovery measure is via more chemicals, it only makes sense that we are causing harm to our body systems.

Often we hear reports on death caused by food that has been "contaminated" by toxic chemicals or over-use of chemicals.  Some countries are banning GMO or requiring labelling of GMO.  It is important for us to understand what these technological advances are in agriculture and how it impact us from GMO to the usage of chemical hormones, fertilisers, pesticides and preservatives.  Many fruits are sprayed with chemical preservatives to increase the "freshness" of the fruits especially when it has to be packed, shipped, and distributed before it finally gets to the consumers.  I rarely see any mention of this or labelling.  So I wonder, when you juice the fruits without peeling them first, what else are you adding to your health drink?  And, there is virtually no peeling of the outer layer for vegetables (except for those like carrots): spinach, kale, celery, etc.

For the sake of ourselves and our families, we need to take an interest in this and not view it lightly.  Once the damage has been done, sometimes it is not irreversible and we will live with the after-effects.  I am very much an advocate for growing your own food, if not a major part then to supplement commercial food.  This can be achieved by having our own "garden" and you do not have to have land to do this.  There are so many food plants that can be grown in pots for those with limited or no land space.  There are many ways to produce your own fertilisers organically and it is not difficult to do so.  We are blessed to live in a country where it is "growing" season year-round.  Whilst we may care about our outward appearance by buying good quality and expensive clothes, accessories, make-up, body care items, etc.,  as well as spending time and money to go to gyms and spas, I feel that we should exercise the same concern and care for our insides.

For me, I like to enjoy a calamansi drink and be able to drop the squeezed fruit into the glass for additional flavour; I love the joy of enjoying durians of different sizes from the same tree as well as the different tastes; and I enjoy eating my vegetables without have to detoxify them.

The moral of my story is this:  If you cannot produce your own food, or reduce consumption of chemically contaminated food, you should at least know the origins of the food and how it was grown.  Then you can make a choice: " pay now or pay later".