The dearth of real food (and real farming)
This morning on the radio they were discussing the threatened CP Rail lockout. For me, it highlighted our completely unsustainable agriculture system. The people interviewed were worried about getting fertilizer and seed, both things that farmers would not need to buy in the past.
Almost all cash crops are now grown from genetically modified seed that has to be purchased: https://thecounter.org/cash-crops-genetically-engineered…/ (U.S. figures, but I’m sure that Canada’s aren’t much different) and farmers are not allowed to save their own seed. The fertilizer used is synthetic: https://farmforum.ca/…/high-fertilizer-prices-explained/. This is leading to a totally unsustainable food system.
In the past, soil fertility would be a priority. Farmers would use various methods such as crop rotation, cover crops, mixed crops, hedgerows and minimum tillage to maintain and increase fertility. They also allowed some fields to go fallow every year. They saved their own seed, just as I do for some of the things I grow, thus saving money and choosing seed from the best of the crop each year.
It must now be very boring to be a farmer around here, growing either GM soy beans or corn in rotation. Most of those two crops are destined to feed animals who will soon be killed. The rest goes into unhealthy processed foods. Every year, for the almost 24 years that I’ve lived here, I go past the same fields growing one or the other – that’s all they grow, year after year after year!
No big farms around me are organically growing anything, certainly not vegetables, grain, legumes or fruit for human consumption. There was one farmer sort of near me who offered non-GM corn and the most beautiful assortment of other veggies – but he retired a few years ago. At the closest farmers’ market, there are a couple of mini farm organic growers, which is good. Sadly, none are offering grain or legumes or many things I can’t grow myself in my small gardens. However, I know of one couple recently moved nearby who now offer organic oats, and they hope to soon offer some ‘ancient’ grain flours. A definite positive step!
I wish that things would change, but I doubt that there’s much chance of that happening.
To end on a happier note: Yesterday was sunny and warm! I spent a couple of hours out back basking in the sunshine. The snow and ice are melting quickly and before we know it, it’ll be gardening season!