There is a lot of conflict lately over the use of genetically modified organisms, as if they are the worst part of America’s food production. With Chipotle going GMO-free and even local restaurants in Asheville like Mamacita’s joining the movement, you realize that there is the possibility for change.
However, in my opinion, this is not the change we need. Non-GMO food may not have genetic modifications, but it is more likely to be doused in pesticides and smothered with fertilizers that are also harmful. Therefore, if GMO isn’t the way to go, then what is?
In my opinion, it is eating local. To many people, that means a stop at the farmers market once a week, but that isn’t enough. For farmers that rely on these markets, they need people to buy more than just their lettuce from these markets. You may not think this is something you can change, but each and every person can have an impact. We can make a stand and win back the right to a healthy diet. The suppliers rely on the demand, so let’s demand local food.
So why is local food better? First of all it, it doesn’t use monoculture, which is worse for the ground and spreads more diseases in plants. Second, there is a shorter time between farm and table, which means it is fresher and it looks better. Local food is also better for the local government and economy, instead of helping farmers in the Midwest.
For animals, local food is more humane. When cows are raised on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, they are forced to eat corn instead of their natural diet of grass, and it destroys their immune system.
In all ways, local food is better. People who eat locally are healthier and have lower levels of toxins that bio-accumulate throughout a food chain like DDT in pesticides. For example, when one family in Sweden went all-organic for two short weeks, pesticide levels in their blood dropped dramatically.
I’ve seen the worst of America’s food system and talked to many local farmers who are seeing the worst of it. So that makes me propose the question: What could eating local food do for you?
— Claire Amon
North Buncombe High School