A Case for Self-Sufficiency

Pesticide use is increasing. According to the latest data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey up to year 2016, the use of glyphosate in the Midwest has increased nearly 40 times from 1992 to 2016. 

Glyphosate is a chemical originally manufactured by Monsanto (now Bayer) used to kill weeds. In agriculture, it is used in combination with crops that have been genetically modified to survive the pesticide. 

Where the crop has been genetically modified to survive the pesticide, the one consuming both the crop and the pesticide it has absorbed has not been genetically modified to survive the pesticide. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as potentially carcinogenic to humans, and it is at the center of thousands of lawsuits against Bayer.

The increase in use is attributed to weeds becoming resistant to the chemical. Farmers are having to spray multiple times a year as opposed to a single application, a financial disadvantage to the farmer but a financial advantage to Bayer. 

Particularly alarming is the destruction of the soil by glyphosate. The soil is where the crop pulls the necessary nutrients for its growth. This leads to further dependency on the genetically modified seed, also developed and sold by Bayer, as the soil becomes saturated with glyphosate which is destructive to crops born of seeds that are not genetically modified. 

The increased use of agricultural chemicals (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) is also affecting both groundwater and surface water. 

These complications arise from the centralization of agricultural commodities used to feed the population. Consider the supposed ease with which we buy our produce from the grocery store. 

Massive quantities of fruits and vegetables are displayed under large signs advertising the products as “Fresh” and “Healthy”. It is certainly easy to purchase a wide range of these commodities from a simple trip to the grocery store, although no more difficult than a trip to your local farmers market would be. 

With this ease comes a tradeoff. The produce becomes like a trojan horse. We have no idea as to the safety of the produce beyond the label designed to advertise the product to encourage its purchase at all costs.

We are not given any information as to the types of toxic pesticides or in what quantity they are used. The grocery store and all businesses related to the transportation of that produce from farm to shelf is dependent on profits, not the long-term health consequences of consuming the product. That is our responsibility. 

Also consider the amount of waste generated from a single trip to the grocery store, from travel time to single-use plastics used in the transportation of produce. The lifetime of a plastic bag is thousands of years though you may only use that bag for a total of 30 minutes.

These things considered collectively are arguably the best case for the promotion of self-sufficiency.

With self-sufficiency comes personal responsibility. If we want to guarantee our safety, we need to become responsible for our safety. If we want to guarantee that we are eating healthy, we need to become responsible for making sure we are eating healthy.

When we become self-sufficient, we break chains of dependency and we minimize the potential for abuse. Consider the benefits to be had by growing and consuming our own food.

The same amount of time and effort required for maintaining a beautiful garden can be equally applied to maintaining a fruit and/or vegetable garden. The benefits are obvious: your effort is rewarded by the production of healthy fruits and/or vegetables that you can harvest directly from your own backyard or community garden. You are in control of every aspect of every cycle involved in the planting and harvesting of your own produce. 

Those positive benefits not only lend themselves to your health physically but mentally as well.

When you are consuming your own homegrown food, you know exactly what you are consuming. You know with every bite that you, your effort, and your energy was used to nurture and grow the food that you are eating. You will be free from questions and free from guilt. Gone are the mysteries of what you are consuming only to be replaced by positive truths as to the nutritional value of that which was born directly by your own efforts.

As to convenience, what is more convenient than going to your own backyard or to a community garden to obtain the food you need when you need it? 

Self-sufficiency is the most efficient solution to making sure we are eating healthy by allowing us to control every aspect of that which we ourselves produce. Wasteful practices, along with the generation and use of pollutants from plastics to toxic chemicals, is entirely eliminated. When it comes to food safety, self-sufficiency allows us to no longer be dependent on any other entity other than ourselves when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families and we know exactly what it is that we are eating. 

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