Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pithy thoughts on our food system

Today I ran into an old Nicholas Kristof column in the New York Times and it got me groaning inside...all over again (it's been a while since I got worked up about the sad state of the American food system). Kristof also wrote a blog post following up on his column and someone left this comment:

As I write this morning I anticipate opening eight bee hives later today to check the state of things inside. Three weeks ago with the emergence of corn seedlings on the neighboring farm the populations of bees went from an active, busy three foot cloud at the entrance of each hive, to a moribund state with only a few coming and going.

Many farm crops grow from seed which has been coated with clothianidin, a synthetic nicotine which acts as a systemic poison inside the emerging plant. Drops of solution expressed from the leaf margins carrying the attractive sweetness of sugars manufactured within the leaf attract the foraging bees. One Italian researcher showed that a bee drinking this toxic brew died within two minutes. Industrial agriculture over tens of millions of acres is also creating a natural “biocaust” besides producing unhealthful food.

— john mcdonald

This is one beekeeper's experience with our food system, but it is one experience that I'm sure is being repeated all over America right now as engineered corn hits knee high. I think sometimes it's good to hear what's going on in our agricultural system not from politicians and authors, but from the ground up. We don't hear enough from our farmers and from people who are in touch with our land, our bugs, our rivers, our animals. Most of us certainly aren't in touch -- shopping in a supermarket is so insulating. It keeps us from knowing what kinds of ecological changes our buying habits cause. But when you hear testimony from someone like the beekeeper above, it's hard to deny that with our modern, high tech eating habits we are negatively affecting a system we don't completely understand.

1 comment:

lucythevaliant said...

Yeesh! I had heard that bees were dying out all over the place, but I didn't really know why. What on earth are people thinking?!

down with the man some more! :)