Caring for the Future


“Only by safeguarding Nature’s resilience can we hope to have a resilient form of food production and ensure food security in the long term.”

– Prince Charles of Wales

We’re at a weird place when it comes to food. Between the latest fad diets, sensationalized scientific reports, and media exposés – Americans are more aware of what they’re eating than ever before. Yet, this awareness is generally limited to personal matters: “Will this food make me fat?” or “Does this vitamin fight cancer or cause it?” We care very much about food on the small-scale, but simultaneously we might be missing the bigger picture, with potentially terrible consequences.

As Prince Charles states in his speech “On the Future of Food,” there is more to our relationship with food than our own bodily health. Our methods of food production and consumption affect the health of the planet itself. The methods of industrial agriculture work for the time being, but they lack sustainability; It is this short-sightedness that has Prince Charles worrying, “for the sake of your generation…It is your future that concerns me and that of your grandchildren, and theirs too.” And again and again, he addresses the problems we face now or will face in the not-too-distant future. Continue reading

If You Give a Health Nut a Fruit Chip


“Industrial technologies, particularly synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, has fed the swelling human population during the last century. Can organic agriculture feed a world of nine billion people?” David Biello, “Will Organic Food Fail to Feed the World?”

David Biello’s “Will Organic Food Fail to Feed the World?” examines an issue that “has too often been an emotional debate”: organic vs. non-organic farming methods.

Biello begins by drawing attention to how much civilization truly relies on food: we need it to feed ourselves, to feed the animals we use to feed ourselves, to strengthen our clothing with fiber, and even to fuel our cars. Because we rely so heavily on food, agriculture has wiped out massive amounts of the biosphere: 70% of grasslands and 45% of temperate forests have been converted to farmland. Additionally, farming is not only the leading cause of deforestation in the tropics, but also “one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.” Continue reading

Into the Orchard: Apple-Carrot Leather

“Tomorrow we will can plums, and the next day we’ll start on the peaches. We’ve only got eighty-three lids left, so all too soon this sweltering work will be over, and everything we can’t cram under a lid will be left to rot in the summer sun.”

–Jean Hegland, Into the Forest


Jean Hegland’s Into the Forest, a book about survival and family and youth, is also at times a book about food. In the midst of an indefinitely long power outage and miles from even the nearest neighbor, sisters Nell and Eva must struggle to live. At first, they merely ration the food they have in the house, assuming the power will return. Their diet is limited: beans, rice, flour, eggs retrieved from the family chickens, and vegetables canned by their father. Protagonist Nell savors cups of tea made from a fraction of a teabag and craves hot dogs, waiting for the lifestyle she knows to return.

It doesn’t. Continue reading