What better symbol of agri-industry’s vision of “food” than the ubiquitous Butterball turkey so many ate for Thanksgiving?
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
America certainly has an abundance of food, even though many Americans do not. We face a momentous choice of whether to pursue a food future rooted in the ethic of sustainable agri-culture — or one based on the exploitative ethic of agri-industry.
What better symbol of agri-industry’s vision of “food” than the ubiquitous “Butterball” turkey so many ate for Thanksgiving? The Butterball was hoisted onto millions of tables by huge advertising budgets and regular promotional payments to supermarkets.
The birds themselves have been grotesquely deformed by industrial geneticists, who created breasts so ponderous that the turkeys can’t walk, stand up, or even reproduce on their own (thus earning the nickname “dead-end birds”).
Adding torture to this intentional deformity, the industry sentences these once-majestic fowl to dismal lives in tiny confinement cages within the sprawling, steel-and-concrete animal factories that scar America’s rural landscape — monuments to greed-based corporate “husbandry.”
As the eminent farmer-poet-activist Wendell Berry tells us, eating is a profound political act. It lets you and me vote for the Butterball industrial model or choose to go back to the future of agri-culture. It lets us choose the art and science of cooperating with nature rather than trying to overwhelm it.
That cooperative ethic is the choice of the remarkable “Good Food Uprising” that has spread across the country in the past 30 years. Now the fastest-growing segment of the food economy, it is creating the alternative model of a local, sustainable, small scale, community-based, organic, humane, healthy, democratic — and tasty! — food system for all.
To take part in the good food movement and find small-scale farmers, artisans, farmers markets, and other resources in your area, visit www.LocalHarvest.org.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Distributed by OtherWords.org.