By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 8:49 PM

Food Shortages and Soil Erosion
Last night, while flipping through channels, I ran across an interview on OPB with Frances Moore Lappe. I remembered her revolutionary boo, “Diet for a Small Planet,” which was very inspirational to me in my younger years. I had been a dedicated vegetarian for may years, and then became am on and off vegetarian, and am now a meat eater. This seems to follow the trend of many of my friends and associates.
While it seemed before, almost everybody I knew was a vegetarian, a vegan, and some were even into raw food diets, currently it seems very hip to be a meat eater, even a proud meat eater. One significantly newer trend with younger folks is eating locally and humanely raised meats, and eating and using all parts of the animal. I met a guy last night that is raising rabbits for meat, which he will slaughter himself.
While the new outlook on meat eating is certainly refreshing, after listening to the interview I am reflecting on this new fervor for meat eating. Lappe insists that the situation with world hunger has not improved, but rather gotten worse. She says that the continued problems with global hunger, combined with the ever looming water crisis, demands that our food practices must be questioned even more urgently than when her “Diet for a Small Planet” came out in 1975. Lappe asserts that there is no food shortage, but rather the problem is wasted resources involved in meat production and the lack of distribution of grains is the problem, not lack of availability. Specific to soil erosion, Lappe claims that 85% of topsoil erosion is directly linked to destructive land use from livestock practice. While her newer work offers multiple solutions to the global hunger problem as well as the destruction of the planet, her basic thesis of “Diet for a Small Planet,” is that the hunger problem would be solved if humans stopped wasting resources feeding livestock, and produced grain and vegetables for their own consumption instead. She insists there is enough grains and vegetable to feed the entire planet, and points out the statistics on wasted water, grain, and land to produce comparatively small amounts of meat.
Lappe stated in her interview that using sustainable practices to produce grains and vegetables could refurbish the soil and reduce soil erosion. She explains that humans can work with soil microstructures and create abundance of food without damaging the earth and wasting vital resources. Her new book, “Hope’s Edge,” is written with her daughter, and revisits many of the issues brought up in her original work from the 1970’s. She focuses on Democracy, and explains that megacoporations monopolizing the global food economy do not fit into the basic tenets of democracy. On a positive note, her new work does outline many positive changes happening all over the world in empowering individuals and communities to take charge of their food security and return to traditional food harvesting techniques that work with the earth and protect soil integrity.
What can you do? You can take part in this newer movement of sustainable farming-that can nourish the family and replenish the earth. Low-income families can look into the local agency Growing Gardens, which works to assist low income families in growing their own food to reduce hunger and encourage self sufficiency. Low-income mothers on WIC should also look into the WIC program “Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program,” which allows low income mothers to use their WIC vouchers at the Farmer’s Market to buy nutritious, local foods. Families that are not low income can check the plethora of literature on home gardening. You can also consider only eating free range meats and poultry, and buy produce from farmers that use sustainable practices.

Growing Gardens-2003 NE 42md Ave #3. PDX OR 97213. 503-284-8420
Contact: Rodney@growing-gardens.org

Gardening in the Pacific Northwest-
Pacificnorthwestgardening.com

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