Downwind"Ag Literacy Pillar 4"
I have been writing about the Pillars of Agricultural Literacy – Understanding the intersection between agriculture and society. The last three months, I have reviewed pillars 1, 2, and 3 as shown below (the previous columns are available on the Cook County Farm Bureau website, www.cookcfb.org).
Now on to Pillar 4: The Relationship between Agriculture and Lifestyle
Today, more than ever before, agriculture and everything produced from it has become part of a lifestyle for someone, me included.
People identify their lifestyle through food and what they eat. Here are just a few examples: the Locavore, the Vegetarian, the Carnivore/Meat-eater, the Vegan, the Slow Foodie, the Pollotarian, the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, the Clean-eater, the Gourmet, and the identify name labels just keep coming with more being invented every day…
There are the people that define their lifestyle around healthy food choices. There are those that claim food identity based on cost-effective food choices. And there is the crowd that enjoys food as nourishment, eating whatever’s put in front of them. I fall into the final camp.
The definition of a habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it almost becomes involuntary. With food, consumption can be become a lifestyle habit. Consumption based on the time of day. Consumption based on the feeling of being “full”. Consumption based on eating fast food. Consumption based on eating out. Consumption based on eating whether you need to or not.
Last month, my wife and I headed to the Daniel Boone National Forest area in Kentucky for a family wedding, one of the many Covid delayed weddings that are occurring fast and furious nowadays. The young couple’s agrarian lifestyle as “almost homesteaders” was evident in the wedding reception featuring an all-vegan dinner. It wasn’t the worst meal I’ve ever had (this coming from a hard-core meat-a-vore).
My infant grandson has many food allergies that have impacted his health. In order to avoid the allergies and provide the nutrition he needs, my daughter, while breastfeeding, adopted an agriculture food lifestyle that I would not want to wish on anyone. For the past, half-year plus, she has been eating very basic and simple foods as a part of a meager diet; organic grass-fed lamb, cassava flour (made into a tortilla), olive oil, water, and salt. Yep… That is all!
She was kind enough to “share” a bite with me so that I could evaluate it as a food choice. One bite was sufficient. I know that her tastebuds nearly burst with delight when she was able to add apples to the diet. The wonderful news is her food lifestyle has had such a positive impact on the health and well-being my grandson. What commitment and focus she has displayed.
You’ve heard me say it before… We have such a wonderful food plentiful country that everyone’s food lifestyle identity can be fulfilled and nurtured thanks to our friends, the Farmers. Amazingly, Farmers adapt to food and lifestyle demands by consumers by producing what the consumer wants and expects.
This wide-ranging availability is something that we, as Americans, have grown accustomed to. That’s why it was such a shock during the pandemic that supply chain woes, including that of the agriculture sector, popped up. Limited access, delayed supply, and increasing prices are causing consumers to ask questions. When the supply chain impacts one’s lifestyle, people tend to get worked up.
In the category “Really, is that news?”, I saw a New York Times article entitled, “Does it matter if I eat the stickers on my fruits and vegetables?” I’ve not heard of the sticker eating lifestyle but who knows these days!