Food diversity has been a reoccurring factor in the United States, especially in this day and age. It has been noticed for a while now, but nothing major has been done about it. There have been little here-and-there efforts to try and piece together our problem, but the crop monsters of America are overtaking our food industry. Our industrial farms only mass-produce few genetically refined crops. These crops that are being made and harvested lack the diversity a lot of our other foods have and we have lost them due to their extinction throughout the years. The main crops are genetically bred to withstand diseases and live through longer periods of transportation after being harvested. Hasn’t your mother ever told you to not play with your food? Are our crops really disease free? Their genetic codes are so alike that producing them in massive numbers next to each other can be very devastating and has been proven to be harmful in the past. “As the number of crop varieties decrease (reducing the genetic diversity of these plant species), existing crops become increasingly susceptible to devastation by disease and pests.” (www.sustainabletable.org)
We are given the illusion of our crops being immune to diseases and pesticides, while in reality everything in the universe changes on a daily basis and the probability of our crops failing is more likely. Putting forth the effort to keep our traditional crops alive and thriving requires more patience and time, but it is better than losing one billion dollars because of a disease. This event has already happened due to the commercial corn crops in the United States, forty-one years ago, in 1970. The same thing happened to the citrus crops in Florida, in 1984. “Since 1900, about 75 per cent of the world’s crop varieties have become extinct, and around 50,000 disappear each year according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). At present, the world’s population gets 90 per cent of its calories from 20 crop species; four of these account for 50 per cent of total calories (rice, maize, wheat and potatoes).” (www.un.org) It might not seem like a big problem to some citizens of America right now, but it is definitely something that should not be tossed aside like it doesn’t matter. We are what we eat, right? So… what if we don’t have anything more to sustain what our bodies need? What if we eventually lose all the food we have to disease? Ever thought of that concept? The commercial crops jeopardize our traditional crops and these crops supply our main source of genetic material in order to create these crop monsters.
So why are we letting our traditional crops go extinct? We are trying very hard not to! We are fighting back! Most of citizens and farmers of America are overstepping this obstacle and wrestling for our food. “A growing number of sustainable farmers are preserving agricultural variety and protecting biodiversity by raising ‘heritage’ and ‘heirloom’ animal breeds, fruits, and vegetables.” (www.sustainabletable.org) Why not help save the world little by little? We obviously can’t fix a problem overnight, but I think this is worth taking action.
Take a look and click on the Eat Well Guide link to see what you can do for your country and your health. 🙂
By: Jillian I.