Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday snark....

This weekend Bob and I went to a dinner party. We actually had a nice time, and met some really interesting people, but that would be boring to blog about, wouldn't it? I'm sure you would love to hear about the tender flakiness of the salmon I ate, or my personal moment of triumph when I waived away the dessert, but something tells me you want a little snark with your Monday morning coffee? Un peue de snark, no?

So this man was at our dinner table--let's call him "Bill." I have actually forgotten his real name, so, heh, hope it isn't Bill. Bill talked for at least half of the table's conversation about the reason he moved here to our little town. His entire family suffered greatly when they were back at their old home, both physically and mentally, but were good as gold when they came here. Finally, they figured out that everyone was getting really sick from the pesticides back home. See, Bill is a farmer. A very, very rich farmer. After going on and on about how terrible pesticides are, how now they only eat organic, how they only eat cows that have been slaughtered in nice ways without any antibiotics, about how everything they touch is pure and now their lives are markedly different, I managed to ask a question. Because even though the dinner conversation was remarkably monopolized, I thought it was great that he and his family were healthy and living a better life.

"So are you an organic farmer now?"

Bill looked at me like I was crazy. "Hell, no. Organic costs three times as much for a third of the yield. I have a little plot dedicated to organic, but the money just isn't there."

"Well, then what motivates a farmer to go organic? Aren't there subsidies or something?"

"The only thing that motivates a farmer to grow and sell organic is something inside of him. Most people just can't afford to eat healthy." And he went back to eating his green salad that hadn't been touched by a pesticide while countless families that night were no doubt digging into their dinner that had been liberally sprayed with poison and purchased for pennies at Walmart. And possibly grown by this man at my table.

It made me feel so sad inside.

Edited to add: This made me feel sad mostly because the world is so unfair. We ALL deserve to eat healthy food. Clearly, it isn't feasible, and THAT is a travesty.
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Now, to lighten my own mood, I direct you here, to the story that broke this weekend. Have you read about the Kansas woman who chose to stay on the toilet for two solid years? Have at it. Happy Monday.

27 comments:

Amanda said...

Well, ain't that sweet?

Health for HIS family motivated him to change his ways but money takes priority over the health of others. Nice.

The woman on the toilet for 2 yrs - I read about that. I can only imagine she had small children as the loo is sometimes my only haven. *chuckle*

jen said...

that toilet story is a heartbreaker, isn't it. i can't imagine.

and bill. well...heh.

Beck said...

Actually, I totally know where Bill is coming from. My dad is a farmer; I come from a LONG line of farmers and know many, many farmers. Many of them would dearly LOVE to switch to organic farming practices and can NOT afford to. Most of them - and we are talking about larger scale farming operations - are operating at a loss, and the cost of switching over would bankrupt them.
There's going to be HUGE food shortages coming very, very soon. It is going to be catastrophic.

Jen M. said...

Wow - Beck - I had no idea. Does this mean I should have a bigger garden soon? Seriously - yikes.

Rima said...

How ironic. It is such a shame that good, unadulterated food is so hard to come by in our country, and that you have to be affluent to get it.

Audubon Ron said...

It is extremely hard to find fresh veggies period. We import too much. That's what killed Rome.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

It really is a shame, but the gov't continues to subsidize those growing poison produce rather than the farmers who would like to grow organic but can't afford the huge start-up cost and the lower yields. If we want to see real environmental change in this country, it needs to start at the policy level. Grassroots movements are nice, but most of us simply do not have enough money to feed our families all organic or to retrofit our houses with green energy sources.

And...can I have your dessert?

Marie said...

What an excellent example of all that's wrong with the world.

Molly said...

I would love to buy organic, but it is just too expensive. Food prices are skyrocketing as it is. I'm in agreement with the previous commentor. Public policy has to change.

B2G said...

You'd think people would realize something's amiss when their ass is stuck to the toilet seat. You'd THINK.

Jennifer said...

This really is what's wrong with the world, summed up right here, isn't it. It's what's wrong with policy and power balance and how the greed of a few results in a large price, payed by others.

*sigh*

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I have family in North Dakota. The whole subsidy thing will seriously make your head explode if you think about for more than 3 seconds.

Kathryn said...

My husband comes from a huge farming family, and everything Beck said is a "ditto". It is indeed a sad situation.
I have heard that toilet story. Creeps me out!

Mrs. G. said...

Well at least Bill is taking care of his own-to hell with the rest of us. I wouldn't be able to afford organic if it weren't for a little store called Trader Joes.

Daisy said...

I'm enlarging my garden this summer, and I'll continue to buy at the farmer's market downtown where many are organic growers. But when winter hits, and her in the Midwest it's long, I have fewer choices.

Jerseygirl89 said...

Wow, I don't know what to say about Bill . . .except that it's nice he's making enough money to make sure his family is healthy.

And the toilet story really, really disturbs me.

Mamma said...

Wow!! He sounds like a lovely dinner companion.

AnotherMomCreation said...

Is that not the definition of a biggot?
I firmly believe, what goes around comes around and someday his greed will come back to bite him.

andi said...

There are rich farmers now? My dad farmed for years and although we lived comfortably, we were never rich. And I can understand your snark...

And thanks for the weird news link. I do love those stories and that is one of the strangest I've seen in awhile.

Amy said...

i read somewhere that it is actually a "myth" that organic farms produce less crop. i read that it was just the opposite. not sure if it was accurate or not. as for all the pesticides and fertilizers etc, aren't they all made from petroleum? i imagine the price must be skyrocketing just like gas. the cost of food in general is getting so high. i try to buy as much organic food for my kids as i can afford. i can no longer afford organic milk-i was spending $25 a week just in milk! it kills me that i can't do this for my children. i have a friend who lives in Ireland and she says when she is broke, she eats healthier-fruits and veggies are cheaper over there than processed stuff. shouldn't that be the case over here????

trinity67 said...

What a boob - I'd feel sad too.

Domestically Challenged said...

Grrr - people like that make my blood boil - what a hypocrite - even if the paperwork to go organic is tough, he could still BE organic - there's nothing to prevent him from 'doing the right thing'.
His bio-diversity would improve - everything would taste better....he could feel proud - and practice what he so loudly preaches!

On the affordability front....most of us could eat some organic just by growing our own veg....it takes effort, not money.....
wish I could have sat next to him....he could have a side order of 'a piece of my mind'!!!

Are you mad passing up the pudding?!!

Life As I Know It said...

wow. that is sad.
Maybe if more people started buying organic, the demand would be there. It's just too bad it's double the price...catch 22.

andi said...

When I read this entry this morning, I forgot what day it was. Now I'm beginning to think the toilet story was an April Fool's joke. I get caught every year.

andi said...

Okay, so scratch my April Fool's comment. I just checked the date of the story - March 12. So disturbing that it's true...

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm confused---if the pesticides made them sick, and he is still a conventional farmer, why aren't they still sick? Did they move away from his farm?

Sadly, it is true that organics are out of reach for most families. There is a movement to let food stamps be used at farmer's markets to encourage more families to eat locally but I'm not sure this is a widespread thing.

Finally, the most shocking thing I read? You turned down dessert? What? Please tell me it was something icky.

bipolarlawyercook said...

There's a name for people like him. JACKASS. My Republican grandparents managed to farm organic, yet leave all their many kids and grandkids money.