Industrial food

Mike Huckabee and other missionaries peddle that ‘real Americans’ only live in ‘flyover country’. In their imagining, these denizens of middle America are honest, thrifty, independent, moral, religious, industrious, patriotic and white. By extension, coastal dwellers are none of the above.

Those degenerates are flag-denigrating, out-of-touch, sneering, socialist, atheist, immoral hedonists who wouldn’t know God, guns, grits, and gravy if they walked through the door and shook their hand. It goes without saying that they are also darker complected.

So be it.

Let’s ask this question: If real Americans live in the boondocks what do they do there? In mythology, they farm — corn, soybeans, wheat, hogs, beef, eggs and milk. Thousands of these salt of the earth, small-holding farmers have for generations produced the food Americans eat. Which might have been true before 1970. But it is pure fiction now.

Today American agriculture is industrialized. Even where small farmers exist they are often cogs in the machine. Either they are part of the production chain — raising chickens for Perdue, for example. Or they are part of cooperatives that dictate prices, say dairy farmers. And dairy farming is a good illustration of the decline of family farms. Let’s have a look.

The number of dairy farms in the US has decreased by 94% since 1970 (from 650,000 to 40,219). And while Americans drink less milk than they used to, the driver of the decline is size — an inexorable shift to larger but fewer farms. And the small dairyman, left in the cold by the milk cartels, is forced to sell off his herd for meat.

New York City’s Union Square Farmer’s Market.

For the sake of argument, we’ll agree small farmers are ‘real Americans’. Where are they? Ironically, and Huckabee will never admit this, they are in coastal states. Why? Credit Michael Pollan and his celebration of real food. Add in the ‘farm-to-table’ movement. And the result is a demand for local, quality food. Which in turn has led to a resurgence of small farms to service posh restaurants — and to meet the demands of eager urbanites flocking to farmers’ markets.

Huckabee might glorify some middle-American Utopia, but America’s rural youth has been fleeing the small-minded sterility of the flat states to pursue culture, vibrancy, and opportunity with the coastal elites.

While, ironically, yuppies from the big cities are stepping off the corporate ladder to get dirt under their fingernails and start their own small farms.

Huckabee might sneer at the liberal elites. But they are the ones who provide the market for today’s small farmers — and small brewers and distillers. They are the ones who buy the bespoke pottery and glassware from artisans, that keep blacksmiths at their forge, that support local butchers, greengrocers and cheese makers.

If the only customers were Huckabee’s ‘real Americans’ then the only food suppliers would be industrial producers, trucking their factory wares in convoys of semi-trucks to Walmart. Where an erstwhile farmer might get lucky and score a greeter’s job.

So where are your real Americans now, Mike?


Sugar: Another Corporate America Snow Job

January 9, 2017

Anyone who grew up, from the 1970s on, ‘knows’ that the biggest threat to cardiovascular and heart health – as well as the largest contributor to obesity – is fat. Specifically saturated fat. The problem is, they are wrong. The body needs fat. We may eat too much – but we must eat some. Sugar is different. […]

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Some Foods (and Drinks) Are Deplorable.

November 1, 2016

There is much that is deplorable in America. Let’s look at some examples from the world of food and drink. Ranch Dressing This dairy-based concoction is America’s favorite salad dressing. The original recipe featured buttermilk – an odd ingredient to put on vegetables. But in the commercial preparation, soybean oil and water provide the lubrication. In fact, […]

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Are Nutritionists the New Weathermen? Full of Opinions and Rarely Right.

June 4, 2016

It is hard to think of professionals that know less about their subject than nutritionists. We all eat. We all obsess about nutrition & weight. Yet try and find two nutritionists who agree on what we should eat. Add TV shills promoting wonder foods. And no wonder we’re clueless. Then mix in the worst actor. We may […]

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Science is not an Opinion.

April 23, 2016

Science is a discipline which some people do not understand, and some ignore completely. Some people do not believe in things for which there is overwhelming proof. Others believe in things for which there is no evidence. Often they are the same. Are they contrarians, bloody-minded or just dumb? Yes. Why do fundamentalists believe that […]

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Profit Over People – the Corporate Imperative.

October 6, 2015

“You’re thinking I’m one of those wise-ass California vegetarians who is going to tell you that eating a few strips of bacon is bad for your health. I’m not. I say it’s a free country and you should be able to kill yourself at any rate you choose, as long as your cold dead body […]

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Really? 8.10.15 – Choosing to Seem Gay; Chris Christie’s Missing Tunnel; A Bird’s Eye View; Coca-Cola Buys Some Science;

August 10, 2015

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” ― Euripides She was a boy – I swear. A married, conservative Michigan lawmaker – father of five – had an affair. Pretty standard stuff. Then news of Todd Courser’s hanky-panky with Cindy Gamrat (also married) began to circulate. The boy […]

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The Immigration Paradox

June 1, 2015

“There is always danger for those who are afraid” ― George Bernard Shaw. Conservatives hate illegal immigrants. Buisness loves illegal immigrants. Conservatives love business. How can this be? The answer is that big business conservatives pay lip-service to hating illegal immigrants. It’s nothing but expediency. Let’s unpack it. What do big business conservatives and the […]

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When Crap Is Cheap You Can Buy A Lot of It. The ‘Walmarting’ of America.

April 28, 2015

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value” – Thomas Paine. Since Sam Walton opened the first Walmart in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas, the company has been relentless in cutting costs to cut prices. Quality was the first victim. It wasn’t that Walmart was the first […]

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