Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

On this day, two Hundred and thirty-three years ago, fifty-six men representing the thirteen American colonies, signed a Declaration of Independence, in which they stated, among other things, that they refused to be abused by a government that did not have their best interests in mind.

In that same spirit, I have declared my independence today - my independence from the corporate food monster, who cares not one whit for my health and well-being, but is only concerned with profit.

This is not a great deal different than what our forefathers endured under the rule of King George, whose laws and tax system were biased against the colonists and for those who had remained in England. The people and the government in England didn't care what the colonists were enduring. Harsh weather conditions, bloody conflicts, few luxuries ... the English didn't care, as long as they had their money.

Modern corporations don't seem to operate in a very different manner. It's all about the money.

A 2006 article in the Rolling Stone magazine revealed some not surprising, but still very disturbing truths about Smithfield Foods and the chairman, Joseph Luter III, who is everything every corporation wants, and everything we, as people of ethics and morals should abhor. Everything about his business and business practices are reprehensible. From reading the article, Smithfield is the Wal-*gag*-Mart of the pork industry.

I've boycotted Wal-*gag*-Mart for years, and, now, I will never have another bite of bacon if I can not find a local pig farmer from whom to buy it. Butterball is a subsidiary of Smithfield. We don't, usually, buy supermarket meat anyway, but ... well, now it's just a given.

Unfortunately, Josephs Luter III is not an anomaly. He's just like every other corporate CEO. When money is the bottom line, nothing else matters, and frankly, I, my children, and Deus Ex Machina are more important than whether or not he gets his house on the French Riviera.

I mean, seriously, why are we supporting these unethical people who make millions, and sometimes BILLIONS, of dollars per year? Why do we keep giving them our money just so they can poison us by feeding us meat that's pumped so full of antibiotics that eating a slice of bacon could cure *our* ear infection (not really - and for the record too many antibiotics is a bad thing)? Why do we when there are other choices?

And there are other choices.

It is my right as a human being to have food that nourishes my body and doesn't make me sick, and it is my right as a citizen of this country to decide for myself from whom I will buy my food, and I have made that decision. It doesn't include anything Smithfield sells.

Today, my family and I declared our independence from Corporate Food Conglomerates.

We did not eat CAFO meat.

We had barbecued ribs that came from a cow who was raised four miles from our house. She was humanely dispatched by a local butcher, who has a tiny little shop at his house, and he can butcher one or two cows a day. There is no feedlot. There is no "kill floor." There is no assembly line. It's the butcher, his son, and his granddaughter-in-law - and they all have all of their limbs and digits.

We did not eat factory-farmed produce.

To accompany our ribs, we had roasted root vegetables and sauteed beet greens cooked with garlic scape pesto. All of which were grown in my garden.

And I made some cornbread using Kate's butter, King Arthur flour, Maine-milled cornmeal, and milk from our local farmer friend - all of which are family-owned, regional businesses.

We had home-brewed Hefe-Weizen, which is an amazing beer. Isn't it gorgeous?

After dinner, we went down to the beach for fireworks and dug holes in the sand.

Happy Independence Day to you all!

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