Farming in America
American’s today are so disconnected from their food supply.
Back during the world wars, specifically 2, when food gasoline and rubber bands were rationed for the war effort, people would grow themselves gardens to supplement what was scare to find. Freedom gardening; the act of planting a seed, giving it water, a little love and keeping pests from it resulted in rows of beans, fat juicy tomatoes, even broccoli and carrots going on into the winter seasons. Food, you eat it, I eat it. Fuel.
I might know a half dozen people who care about their bodies enough to grow any produce. Why is that? I eat a lot, love spending less money for something that grows all by itself, and really enjoy the taste of a tomato fresh from the vine. It’s almost a thing of ecstasy, just tasting what grew from the soil there.
Now back in the 40’s, so far as I can find, at least 18% of the American population farmed. Commercial agriculture, feeding the town up the road for income. I’m not sure if it’s the culmination of successes in chemical nutrient manufacturing, advancing technology surpassing human labor or the swelling of cities and industries that aren’t reliant on people growing their own food anymore, but that scares me in a small way.
There are under 5 million farmers today, marked by the census, in America. There’s 318.9 million people living here today (preach 318), but for a country so big why are there so many people disconnected from what they eat? That’s shocking as somebody who loves to dig, plant trees, and water the grass.
My grandmother grew up in the depression era down in south Louisiana, she grew up on a farm/plantation, but she’s from the generation with the necessity to grow and raise what you could; without growing food, trapping, or hunting you starved. Before there was a mcdonalds on every third street. Way before the line of production changed, and stopping at the grocery store to buy apple’s that came off the tree 12 months ago. I’m concerned for the diet of your average American, we have a rising obesity rate and let’s not even talk about the incoming wave of type 2 diabetics flooding the healthcare system. When CORN is so cheap that farmer’s gete paid not to grow it to prevent a collapse of market price, why? When everything’s made of it, and when the right doctor can test your muscle cells and visually see the corn you’ve eaten so much of for so long, there’s a nutrition problem. I’m a little overweight and would love to lose 20 pounds, but hot fucking damn when Oklahoma city sets a goal to collectively lose 1 million pounds and does it, why is that a problem?
(OKC losing weight, great TED talk. Watch it. https://www.ted.com/talks/mick_cornett_how_an_obese_town_lost_a_million_pounds )
Why worry about what you eat when you can visit any store down the road to order fried chicken, a burger, or any walmart to buy already frozen food or a bag of cheetos? Do you like Subway? Maybe snag a swiss and turkey with mustard foot long on Italian bread for lunch? Were you aware the regulation for Subway’s meat says it only needs to be at most 48% meat? (Link to a story: https://np.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/603mge/subway_has_announced_its_intention_to_sue_the/df3j9ph/?sh=d0ad5a00&st=1Z141Z3 )
I’ve seen enough videos of inhumane acts in a slaughter houses and commercial food production to ward me off of wanting to buy meat in the store. That reddit comment shares concern for meat bought from Walmart, and my best friend is earning a degree in cow agriculture from LSU, but damn (call Rikky on an afternoon while he’s werkin in the lab and just listen to that white trash encyclopedia talk about what ruins commercial food animals). The antibiotics fed to those poor, decrepid animals in the feed lots so they don’t get sick from standing in their shit all day abhors me. Not only that, but we could talk about the egg production of laying hens and talk. Those eggs, before the ever hit the store are more than a month old. Trying to boil some, they float, because enough time has passed for them to lose water through that porous shell.
Crack a white shelled egg in the same bowl as something with a brown shell, and it’s not hard to see a difference in the yellow yolk of one and the gold of another. But hey, agriculture, and with a single farmer being responsible for feeding 65 ignorant people I see an issue.
Those laying hens are stacked on top of each other, and their sole purpose to pop out an egg every day. Just living hurdled like slaves on a ship. Commercial meat production? Chickens are similar, cows spend maybe 18 months in a pasture before being sold to a kill lot that gives them a regimen of corn all the time to throw weight on them. The same with pigs, and I won’t even talk about how much smarter they are than man’s best friend. That corn you can find in your cells? The same indicators appear with people who eat steaks and burgers. Six months of corn only is atrocious.
Me, to go out and eat a meal it’s got to be a special occasion or your treat. Having worked in a couple kitchens, no I do not trust most sit down-and-eat restaurants. Just the way it is, I enjoy cooking enough that having no plan of what to make always turns into an adventure.
I’ve had to teach friends how to shop for food in grocery stores. Not knowing what you want in apples, peppers, or any other vegetable. That’s no problem at all, I’m probably the best amateur chef you don’t know too much about, but hell let’s make something weird and make a mess doing it. I dislike the coddling so many people experienced growing up. I know some guys who were it not for my outgoing personality wouldn’t have a tenth of the stories we’ve grown to experience. But if you lived a young life tied to a computer not seeing daylight, I pity you.
Tying back to food, there are too few people who buy food without knowing what’s in it. Who never touch the stove, an oven, and who’s sources of hot food comes from the microwave. Hell let’s talk about how red 40, the food dye, plays inside the endocrine system and how much of it takes for the chemical to be noticeable in your health.
Final knot to tie in~~~~
I’m helping a friends father get a commercial rabbit farm up and running. Mr P’s an old cantankerous son of a bitch, but hell spending eight hours flipping his soil is so satisfying. (Ask me about rabbits someday)
This morning, April the first, I plopped on over to his back porch to drink coffee and talk about aliens, politics, and get an idea of what needed to be done that day. This morning we slaughtered nine beautiful bucks. Catching them by the ears, stringing them up on a board to knock them out and slit their throats and drain the blood. De-skinning a rabbit takes two steady people to pull from each end. (Dead rabbits are a lot like dead rabbits. They make a serious effort to piss on you.)
Grabbing the first bunny of the day I felt a little queezy, just not wanting to pull something from a cage to kill it, but by the time I was grabbing #3 and #4, those negative feelings vanished. It was a job to do, everybody has their spot during kill time, but being able to see your work at the end of it feels so good. I might never be a long term farmer like Paul, but fuck at this age it feels good to slaughter and eat something that you raised.
WANNA EAT A RABBIT? HOLLA ATCHA BOIIIIIIIIIIIIIII