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MORAN: Nutrients per dollar

December 08, 2016 - 12:15 PM

 


OPINION


A report has recently stated that the average cost of food will inflate near double its average annual rate. This does not include fresh produce and most animal proteins. The inflation for these products may triple.

It would be very surprising if this wasn't the new normal for those who live on groceries from the supermarket. While prices are increasing, quality is decreasing.

There are a select few crops that dominate the majority of agricultural land in North America. Canola, soy, corn, wheat are all commercially mass-produced in a way that has never been done until very recent history. There is a type of unmentioned inflation carrying the burden of these unsustainable crops. The need for chemicals and fertilizers from factories is constantly on the rise, as is the rate of growth for our dependency on this new type of primary production. Primary production is the starting point for our food supply. What once started in the soil now begins in a factory.

The foods in the supermarket with the lowest percieved inflation rate will be those produced with these modern crops. Crackers, pasta, chocolate bars, bread, and many, many more. These are all foods that do your body more harm than good, unless you are truly on the brink of starvation. Even if this is the case, I would recommend trying to get desperate calories from a fat instead of these sugary indigestible starches and grains.

Our commercially produced animals, such as pork, chicken, beef, are also fed from these limited crops. None of them have evolved to grow healthy and nutritious meat by eating mainstream feed, but that is what they are fed regardless. When we eat the affordable meats, we are really just consuming a different version of the previously mentioned industrial crops. The case is similar with dairy and eggs. These foods do have the potential for a high nutrient value, but only if their feed has nutrients. Grass - fed dairy and beef is popular for a very good reason. It is also not sustainable in enormous quantity so the price must be higher.

I have been referring to GMO crops without actually mentioning the name. It is a tiresome and divisive subject to discuss, and a debate I would rather not have. If we can agree that diversity is better than monoculture (the production of one crop across several hectares) then the rest of the debate over gentically modified food becomes pointless.

GMOs aside, we are suffering from a lack of diversity and because our base nutrients for the depleted soil are being produced in a building. Soil can manage itself if crops are rotated. The South American example of beans/corn/squash can be done for years, possibly centuries, with no negative effects on the agricultural land. If we tried to copy that crop rotation, we would have no problem eating the corn, maybe even the beans, but who would eat all that squash?

Our finances and health are on a steady downward slope, with no signs of improving unless we take action. Shop at your local farmers market and be sure to stock up on preserved fruits and vegetables for the winter. Grow a garden, and if you are adventurous enough you can follow my path and collect your seasonal nutrient - dense foods from the fields and forests surrounding our community. This is by far the most affordable, convenient, and earth friendly way to look after your nutritional needs.

If you are at a loss on where to start as a forager, in April and May 2017 next year I will be hosting foraging walks on Sundays. Check out my Facebook page @everythingWILD for updates.

— Scott Moran is a local forager discovering his own path to food freedom


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