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Local Food Journey

I’m Fed Up With Industrial Food

Posted by James Eisenstein on 05/27 at 09:52 AM

The Unpaid Field Hand demonstrates the typical factory-farmed diet.

I am really fed up. And it isn’t just because I am an increasingly irascible, old curmudgeon.

I’m fed up with the behavior of government agencies like the FDA, the USDA, and the EPA, dancing like puppets in the hands of Monsanto, ConAgra, Dow, Big Pharma and their ilk. The FDA dilly-dallies by continuing to allow antibiotics in animal feed to promote “efficiency” and profits, when it is clear that the practice promotes the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten our health.

I’m fed up with the EPA constantly approving new pesticides that are known to kill pollinators. (Who needs insects anyway?)

And the USDA—where to begin? How about with its favoritism toward agribusiness and subsidies for corn, soybeans, and other crops used to engineer junk food? As closely as I examine these agencies’ behavior, I just can’t seem to find the “change I can believe in” we were promised in 2008.



I’m fed up with agri-business mega-corporations like Monsanto, ConAgra, Pepsi, Coke, Kellogg’s, and their ilk, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association who spend millions to defeat food labeling measures that would grant consumers the ability to know whether products contain GMOs.

The composition of Americans’ diets shows that we are being “fed up” with industrial food laden with unnatural products, insecticide and herbicide residues, artificial color and flavor, harmful oils, sugar, salt, and carbohydrates. Analyses of what Americans eat showed that we eat on average three pounds of sugar every week.

This fun fact has inspired me to make a modest proposal. Let’s all begin to get our weekly sugar dose consumed all at once. Every Saturday we all buy a five pound bag of refined sugar, measure out three pounds for every member of the household, and spoon it in. Then, having eaten your fair share, avoid all sugar for the rest of the week.

Oh, I forgot, you probably can’t. Sugar is everywhere in our food system. My favorite is high fructose corn syrup. Next time you see a ketchup bottle, read the ingredients to find out where high-fructose corn syrup ranks. Small hint: second in the most popular brand.

I’m fed up with the methods industrial food production entails—the cruel confinement of animals in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). he CAFO push impoverishment and compaction of the soil, the reliance on fossil fuels, the inferior taste and nutrition of its products—all in the name of “efficiency” to maximize shareholder value.

Have I mentioned that I’m fed up? And it isn’t just me. There is a growing world-wide social movement emerging around the “agrifood” system. My fantasy of a food system where real food from local farms is readily available is becoming a reality here. Its basic premise is “no more industrial food.” One of the most promising developments is the formation of The Friends & Farmers Food Co-Op, which has attracted about 250 members just since March.


My son John’s stand at the May 13th Boalsburg Farmers Market offered real food, raised on a small scale farm, certified organic, and harvested fresh.

I’ll be writing more about it. Meanwhile, you can explore its website and sign up for e-mail updates at http://www.frriedsandfarmers.coop. I’m looking for other people fed up with industrial food. If you are, why not leave a short comment that says “I’m fed up with industrial food too?”

{name} Author: James Eisenstein
Bio: Unpaid Field Hand at Jade Family Farm | Former Penn State Professor

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