All people know plants need water, sun and soil to grow. Water too high in minerals, too low in minerals, acidic, polluted or contaminated can make it challenging to grow healthy food. Too much sun, too little sun and especially changes in the amount of sun challenge growers as well. Soil can also be too acidic, high or low in minerals, contaminated or polluted. Unbalanced soil will challenge and sometimes stop the growth of food.
Each farmer handles each challenge in various ways. Making the way to grow food an endless array of possibilities. Farms large enough to supply grocery stores tend to use many of the same growing tactics due to regulations. Small farms or backyard gardens can grow food as they please. If we look at one food in particular, the understanding of our food system becomes more clear.
Let’s take a look at watermelon because we are in the middle of July and in 2008 congress determined it to be National Watermelon Month.
Watermelons sold at a store are grown in a field (in the United States or Mexico) using many chemicals such as pesticide, herbicides, fungicides and even growth accelerators. They are then shipped to a warehouse within a couple hundred miles (or so) of you. A distributor picks them up and drops them off at a grocery store near you.
Seedless watermelons are grown a little different. Seedless watermelon started about 50 years and can be done if pollinated in a certain way. More recently, seedless watermelons are done with a chemical injection that alters the chromosomes of the watermelon. Some may or may not call this a genetically-modified food. The labeling doesn’t really matter.
The simple fact that the food is being altered is concerning. Considering that we learn something new about science everyday, I wonder how much we play with that we don’t know about. Injecting a chemical into or onto anything can always have its side effects. What are those side effects? I don’t know because there are no studies for it.
There are no studies to show these chemicals are harmless to our health. are safe. Which means, we are test subjects of a study that nobody is tracking. The more we learn about food, the more we learn the characteristics of each food plays a vital role in the overall health benefits of human consumption.The more we learn about food we discover new scientific facts about it. So why mess with things that we don’t fully understand? Why do we even mess with organic food?
Organically grown food is definitely better than conventionally grown food when shopping at a grocery store. However, chemicals are still used on organically grown foods. More chemicals are added to the allowed list each year. So, organic in my minds and your minds cannot be found at a grocery store. Foods grown with no chemicals and no alterations cannot be found in the aisles of a nice air conditioned building. Where should you shop? What should you eat?
Eat foods that are from small local farms. They are have less chemicals (if any). They almost never have GMO food. The food is often picked within a couple days of buying it and sometimes even the same day. It helps the environment and your local economy.
Do local farms grow food that has been altered? Yes, some do but some don’t. There is an array of small local farms and gardens close to most people here in Phoenix. It give you the freedom to pick and choose what kind of food you want to buy. This is difficult to do in the grocery store.
Let’s look at a journey of a typical locally grown watermelon. It is sprouted from seed. Most of which have not been altered. The plants never get sprayed with any chemicals. The watermelons are ripened on its own time. And harvested a day, maybe two before you pick it up. The taste of a fresh watermelon is amazing. They are sweet but do not overly sweet like my experiences with store bought watermelon. You can even pickle the rind if you choose. Which cannot be done with conventionally grown watermelons because of the toxins on them. Best of all, if you have any questions about how it was grown, you can ask the person that grew it.
If you haven’t tried a fresh picked watermelon, you need to. You can check out a new community here in Phoenix called Friending Farmers, a buy, sell and share online marketplace that is growing, they might have some watermelon on there.
Eat a fresh picked watermelon, then tell me what you thought about it. I would love to know.
As always, feel free to contact me with comments, questions, concerns or just to chat about locally grown foods.