As a parent, there are all kinds of things I can worry about and the well being of my family certainly tops the list. Over the last few years I have really become more and more concerned about the security and quality of our food system. With such a large amount of our food supply in the hands of very few, the issue of food has been slowly making its way to the top of my list of fears for the future of my children.
I tend to manage my worries with action, to the extent that I can. So, when it comes to our food system, I have decided to become more involved and active in advocating for availability, quality, and access. I also spend time raising awareness for the vital role that farmers play in our culture. There are few professions that are as important to our society, yet we often take what farmers do for granted.
So for those of you who are looking to take a more active role on the issue of (real) food, here are some ideas and resources:
- Support farmers! Joining a CSA like the one at Blandford Nature Center is a great first step. It’s amazing to see the number of them that have popped up over the last 10 years. But I encourage you to go one step further. Educate yourself about the Farm Bill and contact your legislators to voice your concerns.
- Educate others. Doing something as simple as sharing reputable information on social media is an easy first step. Use organizations that you are a part of as a means to get people together and then put food as a topic of discussion. From schools to churches to workplaces, groups of concerned citizens can make a difference.
- Stay in the loop by signing up for the Michigan Agriculture email list. You can get notices of what is on the agenda for the standing committee meetings.
- Michigan State University is nationally known for agriculture. Check out their extension for education, programs, and resources.
- Support Less=More .
- Visit The Center for Science in the Public Interest. It is an awesome organization. They are regularly in the forefront of advocating for food safety and quality. I recommend getting on their email address. I get notices from them around advocacy issues and they make it very easy to join in on efforts that are important to general health.
About the author: Laura Kennett is a Grand Rapids resident who works in higher education and was lucky enough to have parents that began visiting farmers markets decades ago. If she could do it all over again, she would definitely be a farmer. In the meantime, she does what she can to live responsibly and appreciate what farmers contribute to the health of the public. You can check out her piece on “Why Professionals Need to Support Farmers”.