Monday, August 3, 2009

Food Production and Social Responsibility

As some of you may know, I became a (semi) vegetarian about 6 months ago. I still eat seafood, but have completely eliminated any other meats. I did this not only for health reasons, but also because I have strong beliefs about animal cruelty. Why do I continue to eat fish? Primarily because of the lack of options at chain restaurants for a vegetarian. It is also another thing Don and I can eat together, since he has no intention of going veg. Since changing my diet, I have experienced a dramatic increase in my energy level and my overall well-being

I am in the middle of reading the book "Food Inc." which delves into several food production issues. It is my goal to finish the book before watching the documentary, which is currently in theatres. The more I process the information I am reading, the more frightened I become about the chemicals and processes used to produce our food, and the general lack of knowledge society has on the subject.

For more information on "Food Inc." visit

"Organic" has many meanings now, and this word can cause confusion for consumers. Ultimately some people become frustrated by the high price of "organic" meat and produce. Are there solutions to this? Could we buy organic for the produce that is the most heavily sprayed? Food Inc. makes a great point by suggesting that the long-term benefits of eating well will save us a great deal of money in the future. It also points out that many people spend $5 on a latte that lasts 5 minutes, but are reluctant to spend an extra $1 or $2 on a dozen cage-free eggs that will last much longer.

As a designer, I have been especially interested in the labeling issues associated with meat. I believe that graphic designers and marketers have a social responsibility when it comes to the spread of information. Should meat producers be allowed to label their beef accordingly if they thoroughly check every cow for mad cow disease? Many argue that would hurt other beef producers who find it too costly to test every cow. What kind of freedom should companies be allowed when it comes to their packaging? Should we refuse to do business with companies who aren't as "green" as they claim to be?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the chemical issue in all the foods we eat. Part of my diet plan with my trainer includes eating more "raw" foods, and foods that have less processing. The biggest differences i have noticed is that my digestion is much better and faster, and i dont feel so sluggish anymore. Just changing our bread to cracked wheat bread, and our pasta to whole wheat pasta has made a huge difference, even in ryan who eats whatever the signs on the highway tell him to eat.
    In talking to my trainer about foods and where you need to get your nutrients from, its also made me re-think what types of foods i eat. I dont eat a whole lot of red meat anymore, mostly chicken, fish. I do miss it, but for me, just looking at the nutrition facts makes me avoid it.
    Whenever possible, i buy organic foods, or i grow them. I am lucky to have a large family of gardeners, because i have a well stocked pantry of organically grown green beans, tomatos, sweet corn, peaches, pears and apple sauce. (Me and grandma canned them all!)
    Ryan has no idea that i even consider "organic" products when i shop... he would think i'm being excentric or just stupid. he doesn't get it and doesn't care to!
    Oh well, he'll just be healther if he wants to be or not!