Bonnie Ack is a good friend of mine who I met a few years back during a clown bar crawl that I put together in Morristown, NJ. This bar crawl was the shit btw…
Her husband Ian and she own Endorphin CrossFit in Bridgewater, NJ. I asked a few people I know to write some guest posts about health. She quickly chimed in on a piece expressing views on our over-consumption and waste of agriculture.
Below you will find out her 2 cents…
As a Paleo Enthusiast, you likely buy some organic fruits and vegetables, farm fresh cage free omega 3 brown eggs, hormone free grass fed beef, and shun the idea of eating bread. For the hardcore, you may even seek out fair trade coffee and join a local CSA. But even as a Paleo Enthusiast, your knowledge of “agriculture” probably stops there. How often do you stop to think about the clothes you’re wearing? Or the environmentally friendly “FlexFuel” vehicle you bought that runs on an ethanol (read: corn) blended fuel? I’d put $20 down that you never thought about the agave grown to distill your oh-so-paleo Tequila and Soda. In plain English, agricultural products have found their way into all aspects of your life. Agriculture, as defined as “the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal and other products used to sustain and enhance human life” (Wikipedia), deserves some attention. It matters for our environment, our economy, and living sustainably.
The environment is an obvious reason as to why agriculture matters. Animals, plants, and fungi are all grown/raised using resources. Resources come from the environment. Important reality- it takes a lot to grow a lot. Sure, there are economies of scale, when it becomes cheaper to grow (x) amount of crops on (y) amount of acres, and ideally we want the highest crop yield we can manage. Or do we? Do we really need (y) amount of acres, or are we just producing excess? With the amount of starving populations around the world (even in our own backyard) it is hard to imagine we are producing excess, but the problem is generally ACCESS to the food/fiber/biofuel/medicines, not that they aren’t available. Furthermore, we’ve become a world of excess consumption. Do you really NEED that cute sundress, or extra tray of chicken wings for the boys on fight night?
Which brings me to another point: It costs a lot to grow a lot. And a third, while I’m at it: It costs a lot to consume a lot. Generally speaking, we want everything for nothing. We will lie, cheat, and steal to get as much as we can for as little as we can. Maybe now you’re a bit better about paying a premium for whole foods, but I bet you tried to buy that leather belt on sale. The more products we grow, the more resources we use, whether it is land, labor, chemicals, fertilizers, water… Oh, forgot water was used to grow things? I hope not, California. As more products are used, it costs more to get them where they are going (read: transportation). It costs more to display and sell them (read: retail stores). It costs us more to buy them (read: unnecessary over consumption). All while we are demanding lower prices! And since the retail store won’t build itself for free, and the trucks won’t bring it across the country out of the good of their own heart (minimum wage, anyone?), we force the producers of these agricultural products to sell them CHEAP. How do they survive? Subsidies. READ: HIGHER TAXES. Woah, this manure pile just got deep.
Combine the affects agriculture has on the environment plus the affects on the economy, and we’ve created a pretty unsustainable situation. Now I’m not here to push you to grow your own food in your backyard, cowshare, spin wool, or anything super archaic (unless you are #hardcorepaleo), but I am here to ask you to think a little more about what you’re consuming. Is it necessary? Why do you need it for a lower price? Do you need that much..?
Start to think about how your purchases and lifestyle are affecting our collective resources. Pay a little bit more for higher quality products raised sustainability, limit those overall purchases, and save in the long run.
You can visit Bonnie at her Crossfit (www.endorphincrossfit.com) in Middlesex, NJ
Follow her on Instagram – @shakemybonbon