August 20, 2010

Egg Recall Leads to Thinking about an Agrarian Lifestyle

In a prior post I wrote about wanting to live an Agrarian lifestyle.  Well, yesterday I started to think about this once again as it was reported that millions of eggs were being recalled due to a salmonella outbreak at an egg farm here in Iowa. 

I had two dozen eggs in my refrigerator and when I looked at the codes on the ends of the cartons, the codes matched those eggs that are part of the recall.  I took the eggs back to the store today and they not only gave me two more dozen eggs in exchange (from a different producer) but they also gave me the price of the returned eggs in cash.  It was a nice gesture from a store that does a great job in customer service.  However, I am getting really tired of this.

A couple years ago pet food was recalled and then there was a peanut butter recall.  Then there were tomatoes and strawberries recalled.  Last week there was a beef recall and who knows what will be next. 

I grew up in the 1960's when it was brought to light that DDT and other pesticides were harmful and that cyclamates (a sweetener) was suspect to causing cancer.  It was then that I first learned about things we can eat that are harmful to us.  Remember "Weekly Readers" from your grade school years?  They were like a mini newspaper for grade school kids.   I loved reading them.  It was in a Weekly Reader edition that I read about pesticides that were once said to be safe and then were declared unsafe. 

I have not watched Food, Inc. as frankly I don't think I could stomach it and would prefer to read about the food industry than watch it.  It really makes me wonder if we have come that far from Upton Sinclair's  criticism of the meat industry at the beginning of the 20th century.  It would appear that we are constantly battling the quest for safe food. 

Who is to blame?  Is it the consumer that demands foods be available year round and not just "in season"?  More and more the demand is to produce items such as poultry at a faster pace.  Our meat is subject to antibiotics and farmers and producers are pushed to produce more and more for a nation that demands it, no matter what the cost to our health.  Am I part of the blame for wanting low cost meat?   After all I laud in this blog the fact that I am able to get a lot of meat at a great sales price.  Perhaps I should report more about safely produced healthier food sources that I am willing to pay more for. 

What is the answer?  Can I buy local meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables without worrying?  I don't think I can say that locally produced is 100% safe.  No one can give those kinds of assurances, but it would be a much better option than eating a product that is sprayed with insecticides, picked green and allowed to ripen in transport.

I live on a small piece of property in a small city and I am now wondering if I shouldn't try to grow as much of my food as I can.  I should be more diligent to seek out local resources for food and buy from local farmers.  We have a wonderful Farmer's market but it is mostly fresh vegetables and baked goods.  There is a local meat locker where I could investigate purchasing a side of beef that has been locally produced, but does this mean it is free of antibiotics?

Can I raise my own chickens and eggs?  Our City has ordinances prohibiting raising certain livestock within the City limits, so you are limited as to what you can and cannot have on your property.  Can my DH quit his job and go into business for himself and operate a sports store? Okay, that is his dream.

In my quest to live a frugal lifestyle I am purchasing all of our groceries from grocery stores at rock bottom prices, but should I search for better food producers/choices?

I don't have all of the answers but at least I am becoming more aware and more open to the choices I have and the decisions I make.

Perhaps what is in my future is to sell our house in a few years and move to a smaller house on a piece of property where I can have my own garden and raise chickens and eggs.  Maybe even a few goats.  It is something to think about. 

1 comment:

Maureen said...

I think we are responsible for all of the above. Not only do we want it but we want it now and cheaply. I spent last weekend with a couple who are almost self sufficient, they only buy meat milk and bread, use no pesticides and eat only what are in season.
I don,t have the room that they do to plant things but I,m going to be doing what I can to grow my own.