TIME Tackles American Farming Tactics

27 Aug

Another major news outlet is highlighting the serious issues that face how Americans produce their food. I think that this outlet is a little bit of a shock. The cover story in TIME Magazine this week is titled, “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food,” by Bryan Walsh. The people that know about CAFOs and corn subsidies expect to see these articles in Civil Eats or Grist Magazine, maybe even an Op-Ed from Michael Pollen in the New York Times, but not TIME. And it’s the cover story.

This is great news for those interested in changing the way we produce food. Like with most issues there are the people that are knowledgeable on the topic and they forget that everyone else is clueless. As more and more major news outlets pick up this story the more people will be exposed to the issue. TIME had 4.1 million subscribers in 2006. I’m sure that for more than a few of these TIME readers this will be their first interaction with how Americans grow food.

Walsh does a great job of appealing to his readers emotions. His opening paragraph is about cramped pigs that are over medicated, over crowded and chew each others tails off.

“Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won’t bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He’s fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he’ll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That’s the state of your bacon — circa 2009.”

Hopefully, more people will keep talking about the fragile system and its extremely detrimental effects.

I have not read the rest of the articles in this weeks time. I think I’ll pick up a copy on the way home from work.

Grist has a great review of the TIME article.

Please tell me what you think of the article.

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Posted by on August 27, 2009 in Sustainable Agriculture


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