Today I want to share a few articles I read online and offer some thoughts about how permaculture can affect the outcome of articles such as these. Not just in an agriculture sense, but how the critical thinking we use to develop permaculture designs can be applied to find solutions to problems that are not currently being considered by the majority of people.
The two articles I want to share are not new. They have enjoyed the ebbs and flows of the world wide web – being shared at certain times of the season or when political activists really start piping up. But whatever causes people to notice them, they deserve the notice.
The first article I want to share is entitled “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?“, written by Mark Bittman over at The New York Times. In it Mark approaches two common beliefs: 1) That fast food is simply less expensive than store-bought food, and 2) That fast food is the only way that low-income families can afford the amount of calories they need to live.
Suffice to say, he effectively dispels both opinions.
Mark was able to make a simple meal from fresh food from a grocery store for 1/2 the cost of a meal from McDonalds. The meal he created had more calories, more fat, less carbohydrates and more protein as well.
The problem is that – as Mark points out in his own way – the common approach to fixing this problem is to simply require new labeling at fast food restaurants, or pressure them in to providing other food options. In reality, this does not solve the problem.
The problem is that the ease of buzzing through the drive through so you don’t have to try to cook while your favorite show is on TV is more appealing to people than providing fresh nutritious food for 1/2 the cost of fast food. Said another way, too many people are happy to pay for the convenience, no matter the consequence.
I’m sure we could piece this apart a dozen different ways and analyze how we got to this situation – but how can we get out of it?
First, people have to decide that easily disposing their money on something like fast-food is not a wise use of their income. I, for one, like the domino affect of thereby not needing as much income and so I can work for income outside of my home less. Perhaps I am the only one.
The other article is published at BeyondPesticides.org and is entitled “Lawn Pesticide Facts and Figures“. My take-away from this is that perhaps we are focused on the wrong issues. I see so much info out there demonizing conventional farmers for their use of pesticides (herbicides & insecticides) – but not very much about homeowner use.
Yet, according to the figures on this website, your average suburbanite is more to blame for soil health damage than any conventional commercial farmer.
The great news is – we (as permaculturists) can speak to these people. A conventional farmer is trying to keep the business going and might less willing to endure a season or two of change – but a homeowner can attend a local meeting and learn how to provide predator habitat, how to take up space with useful plants, etc.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the podcast – there is a lot more commentary in there. I do not expect to do many commentary type episodes, but wanted to offer these up for discussion – so, please, let me know your thoughts by either commenting below or leaving me a voicemail via the button on the right side of the page.
Thank you for taking a moment of your time to be with me today. This is Jared Stanley asking you to remember to be wise in all your endeavors.
We’ll see you next time.