Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Unhealthy Food Donations & An Injury: Bumps On The Road to Green

This post I am going to try and tackle the food ethics of unhealthy food donations and talk about my sprained ankle!  The injury has limited my green activities like gardening for the present, so I have been left to mull over the ethics of food donations this Thanksgiving season.

Right now, I'm recovering from a sprained ankle. It's doing much better, though they take a while to heal. I'm walking around, but I have to be careful about doing too much and re-injuring it. So, I've not been able to get to the organic co-op as much as I want. I have been managing about once a week, or so.  So, I've been having a lot of free time on my hands to ponder things like the ethics of seasonal food donations.. I really struggle with being green in light of things like this. Personally, I've done as much organic/free range stuff as I can afford this Thanksgiving, and I'm giving thanks that I can. But should we be so picky when trying to feed the hungry? Yes, a box of Hamburger Helper or instant Mashed Potatoes isn't healthy and its contributing to the environment, but it's also cheap, filling and appreciated by hungry bellies.  It's the whole 'if a vegetarian is hungry enough, he'll eat a burger' argument, which by the way is true. When I was extremely poor, I ate the bland food of the Krishnas for free, gratefully, and whoever else wanted to was welcome to feed me, as well. I wasn't likely to complain or insist on free range, grass fed meat, regardless of how well-intended or important to the environment it might have been.

And yet, eating cheap, industrialized food is exacerbating things. Unhealthy food donations could be part of the problem...It would be nice to wave a magic wand and have all cranberries be organic, and all turkeys grass fed, and all eggs cage-free. But with food prices going up, a 50-cent box of mac-n-cheese is a feast to some.

So, where do you personally draw the line? Ethics? Environment? Full Stomach?


Music Fan said...

i think consideration for people in poverty when healthy eating is concerned for instance is a problem no one wants to address. organic food is so expensive, even the local farmers market near me wasn't cheap so i wonder what the point is of going green if you don't have the money to do it. who is it for? is it just a trendy thing for the middle classes. maybe its just where i live . i dunno. but i think some people have blinkers on and don't wanna know about it as long as they have their green credentials. it makes me mad.

thanks for the post btw. good topic ;)

jerry desbrow said...

A most provocative question, it covers a multitude of blessings and sins. I find your utopian idealism refreshing but in my life time an impossible dream.
As the devilas advocate it is not possible to feed a world with organic food, unless it is processed. In perspective, our social environment disallows even the distribution of what food is avilable to those who need it.
Living green in a world stained by greed and corruption and dictators who distroy their population rather than feed them. Discounting any bad natural weather events the starving and the Green move to better eating must be embraced by those who can afford it and those who produce it. Our world would be a better place if a majority would adopt the thinking of the minority in cases like this. A case of reality sucking at the Ethics and consciousness of many as we sith this Thanks Giving to ponder just what are the poor folks eating.

jerry .d

Cyndi Dawson said...

As with all things, moderation is key, and still, every step helps. It doesn't have to be do all or die. I don't eat red meat or pork (for 30yrs) but do eat seafood and poultry. If everyone cut back, imagine how the demand would go down! Same as organics. For health reasons I try and o organic as often as I can but as often as I eat out, it's impossible to go 100%

xysea said...

Hi Everyone,

Thanks! I was away and resting up over the holidays.

I agree - it seems extraordinarily selfish to demand this or that in light of people in the world literally starving to death.

And yet, the world will clearly be better off if we self-limit our consumption.

Really, that's the only philosopy that I've come up with that works.

Felicia said...

My husband sprained several ligaments in his foot a few weeks ago and is still in pain. He's not resting it as he should (traipsing through the airport to and from Thanksgiving didn't help!). Take care of that!

As for the expense of organics, obviously if you don't use pesticides and fertilizers, a portion of your crop will not be consumable. So the grower has to increase prices to make their farm competetive with the neighbors. There have been a few scares with ecoli contamination, etc with unpasteurized juices or other "all natural" products. There are certain things I prefer to buy organically, and others where I think it's overkill. And in many cases, food processing is our friend (I don't worry that my Tropicana has ecoli because it's been pasteurized)!

Nysha said...

When I give food I usually give Tuna Helper, cans of tuna, veggies, and fruit and a bottle of calcium enriched juice so that it's a complete meal that doesn't require refrigeration. Is it the healthiest? No, but I know from experience that most people don't use the dried beans and rice they get from the food bank and this will at least fill them up.