We can’t trust the government to construct and enforce the framework to allow for the healthiest foods (and the healthiest foods only) to reach our plates. And honestly, we can’t be surprised at this inability. They are lawmakers and politicians, and unfortunately nothing more. In many ways, it’s up to us (the people) to change the food system ourselves. But this can seem like a daunting task in the face of hidden-GMOs, pesticide-laden produce, and sometimes undecipherable health and nutrition studies.
The good news is that you can live a healthy lifestyle without the help of Washington policy-makers. While we should all keep campaigning for those elected officials to make the right decisions (such as supporting GMO labeling petitions or going against other harmful petitions), we should similarly be making the right decisions for ourselves.
Changing the food system starts by changing your own food production, purchasing, and preparation. Here are 3 ways you can help to change the food system.
1. Grow What You Can
Whether you have an apartment balcony with limited sun or a huge backyard in a locale with a long growing season, you can grow something. Container gardening on a patio can help you maintain a supply of fresh, organic produce for several months.
If you have room for a garden, you can supply your own needs and share the wealth by selling, trading, or gifting healthy produce to family, friends, and neighbors. When you grow your own food, you know exactly what’s going into it and there is no need for labels. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Check out our organic gardening 101 guide.
2. Buy Local What You Can’t Grow or Make Yourself
If you can’t produce all of your fruits and vegetables, buy locally from people who can. Become a frequent farmer’s market shopper or build relationships with local farmers without the market.
Purchase local produce, eggs, cheese, milk, and meat whenever possible. Also, if you’re shopping for prepared foods, buy those local too. Everything from jams and pickles, to pies and fresh spices can be found at a well-stocked farmer’s market or at local stores with a bit of digging.
3. Share Your Knowledge
If we (as a collective) want to truly impact the system, we need all hands on deck. If you eat your own organically-grown produce and create simple, local dishes that are both healthy and satisfying—that’s great.
But we should encourage everyone to jump on this bandwagon.
Help a friend start their garden or work out a small co-op between yourself and neighbors. Discuss new recipes and how to preserve food. Share what you know and ask for help from others who know more.
Sure, there are other things you can do to impact the food system as we know it, and ultimately impact your health. But if everyone did just these three things, we would be in an entirely different situation. Food giants who are only interested in profit-turning at any expense would cease to exist, and the decisions made in Washington may actually start to reflect what the people truly want.