Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thoughts on Food Production & Being a Farmer's Wife

I just finished reading Michael Pollen's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and I found it incredibly thought provoking and interesting and challenging (and, I will admit, somewhat boring as I slogged through the first third of it).

As I was reading it, I sometimes had these jolting moments of realization throughout my days that everything I know about food is because someone else (read: society) has told me. For example, I was flipping through my latest Canadian Living magazine and came upon a section making comfort food recipes less fattening. I thought "Oh, that's a good idea, I wonder what they suggest?" And then was hit with the idea of who said less fat was better? (I do generally agree that it is). In Defense of Food called into question pretty much everything I know about nutrition and diet. Not that those things are wrong, there is just so much more complexity to it than we think. Or know. Or can scientifically prove.

I do believe that you should know where your food comes from. How it's grown, harvested, produced, shipped. Looking back, I knew very little about any of that - or maybe, didn't give it much thought - before I became part of a farming family. I know where milk and eggs and chicken comes from. I know what it looks like in the dairy, the layer, and the broiler barns. I know (generally, again) what the cows & chickens are fed, and that animal nutrition has everything to do with producing Omega-3 eggs, or increasing the butterfat in milk.

Here is where I could launch into a tirade about supporting local farmers, the strict & sometimes costly guidelines farmers are required to adhere to in food production, and how I believe mass food production is necessary in economically feeding the population.

I didn't agree with every point that Pollen made, but I do agree with his overarching theme: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

However you feel, whatever you eat, you should read this book, and you should think about what you eat, where it comes from and how it's made.

My main take away was this: How do I reconcile what I read & learned from In Defense of Food in my own kitchen, when food production on a mass scale is our own bread & butter, literally out the front door?

(If you've read it, I'm interested to hear your thoughts!!)


  1. Well, I have not read this book, nor do I intend to, but I like that you did! I think I will: Eat Food. Not too much (depends on the day!). Mostly Plants. With Meat. But I agree - it's good to know where our food comes from. I don't think about that too often, but maybe now I will!

  2. Hillary5:22 PM

    I haven't read this, but I have read omnivores dilemma (by Michael Pollen), which was very interesting and thought provoking..and very educational if you ever need to know anything about corn...
    And, the problem with any thought provoking book is how to bridge it into real life...

  3. Anonymous6:39 AM

    Hmmm... I am going to search for this book. Sounds very interesting.