I have come across parts of The Omnivore’s Dilemma from time to time, yet have never sat down to really give it a good read. I found that the information dolled out about corn and its travel from the field to the factory incredibly interesting. The dissection of this simple idea of “food” produced a story that is so easy to overlook, and that’s the scary part. Corn is something all around us, and apart of us. One of my favorite lines in the book referred to us as “…processed corn, walking” (Pollan, 23). It is so engrained in American culture that it had the potential to be abused by American corporations.
My interest lies elsewhere, for while I do think it is a shame that corporations have taken advantage of the American populous, whose fault is that? In my opinion, the consumers have been pointing the finger too much at these big corporations. To be fair, these big companies deserve much of the blame, but what I am saying is so do the citizens living and eating in the United States of America.
One of the most indicative stories of the lack of education in Americans is the story about Pollan’s son. After a meal eaten at McDonalds, Pollan asked his son if his chicken nuggets actually tasted like chicken (compared to the old recipe), to which his son replied, “‘No, they taste like what they are, which is nuggets…’” (112). This is somewhat of a sad tale, especially because this is our youth and future generations. Backtracking to our discussion in class and Kelsey B.’s CYOA, many children are not educated about food. Our society has removed itself so far from the source, that we do not even know what we are eating anymore.
My little sister is 11 years old, and she will eat good food when my mother cooks it. However, she prefers fruit snacks, gushers, lunchables, and go-gurts. She likes these things because her friends have them, and they taste great because they are loaded with sugar. I realize that not every family has the luxury to cook meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, but it is so important for our society to reverse this trend. Processed foods are hurting our bodies, our farmers, and the land.
There are so many problems with the environmental effects of producing corn. Runoff from the synthetic nitrogen and phosphorus, fossil fuel inefficiencies in producing it, excessive use of antibiotics, and more are some of the problems with current farming practices. The rich loam that once wrapped our lands has been abused, and cannot withstand much longer. Sustainable farming is required if we wish to feed off our land for years to come.
There are so many faults exposed with our farming system in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. One basic solution for this structure is education. It is so important to educate consumers, so they make informed decisions. It is necessary for school systems to educate children in the classroom about these practices to ensure a healthy future for our people and our planet.