Monday, October 4, 2010

Sustainable Food

There is so much going on these days regarding food. I had a delightful coffee meeting with a well known food critic here in the Inland Empire who was enthusiastically telling me about restaurant I should include in my show. At the risk of sounding elitist I shared with him that the restaurant that he was encouraging me to feature was wonderful, but not sustainable. This word sustainable has quite a buzz these days. There are many ways to consider it, but how I view sustainable is a behavior or endeavor that can go the distance as they say when it comes to longevity. Not only will it be a long lived initiative, but does so in a way that does not harm the earth, exhaust resources, is renewable and is kind and just to the people involved. So how is a restaurant sustainable? Is the cuisine made from locally grown, seasonal and organic produce? Are the animals and fish featured on the menu humanely grown and harvested? And does all of this matter?

On Real Food Empire, I strive to make the connection between what we eat, our health, the health of our communities and the land that supports us. There is much controversy over laws and legislation regarding the health of our environment. Some interests say that environmental and humane laws are too expensive and will kill jobs. A recent report from the Organic Center talked about how many of the common pesticides used on conventional crops actually put the human body into a sate of pre-diabetes, by disrupting the hormones that regulate sugar and insulin metabolism. We also have a new study stating that air pollution is linked to diabetes. Animals that are grown in crowded feces riddled pens carry antibiotic resistant diseases.

Industrial Agriculture accounts for nearly two thirds of all green house gas emissions, and incorporates hundreds of tons of pesticides per year. Such emissions are know known to be linked to diabetes. Pesticides are linked linked to diabetes, this disease is being touted as the great threat of our age and may bankrupt our health system. We also know that when food items are produced locally, 45 cents of every dollar remains in the  local economy, compared with the 15 cents for items produced at a great distance. So, does buying a supper at a place where they feature only organic and locally grown produce and animal products? Actually it does. It keeps the money in the local system, reduces exposure to the chemicals that we now know are related to ill health and high medical expenditures. It also actually tastes better. So while some chains and independent restaurants may have nice menus, Real Food Empire will not disparage them, but the show wants to encourage listeners to patronize establishments that help on all levels. The good news is that here in the Inland Empire, we have many delicious choices from Farmers Markets to Restaurants to Vinyards and Breweries where we can spend our money, fill our tummies, delight our palates and support our communities with out hurting the land, water or air we depend on for life.

When you vote with your fork and food dollars, you make a difference in our world, your own health and the health of others. It is a fact!

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