Currently I am taking a course with Cornell University and the famed Dr. Colin T. Campbell. Dr. Campbell has spent over twenty years studying the effects of nutrition on our health. It is during this course that part of our assignment was to write a letter to an elected official about the effects of food production on the health of the people and our environment. I chose to write about the obesity epidemic, farm subsidies and the effects on the future of our planet. I’d like to inform you about what I have found in hopes that you too will do something about it.
Our Government has given an incredible amount of money to farmers who grow harmful GMO corn, hormone induced dairy and feedlot raised livestock; $1,783,650,123 from the year 1995 to 2012 to be exact! (I hope this upsets you as much as it does me!)There is no question that this type of agricultural farming is harmful to our health and the environment.
Today the average American, consumes 3,800 calories per day, it is safe to say that a good majority of these calories come from fast food, soda, potato chips and other unhealthy food choices . Let’s face it junk food is cheap. Farmers get large sums of money to help cut the costs of production. Therefore making it more affordable for us to buy. This is part of the reason that 69% of the American people are overweight and/or obese. David Pimentel, Professor of Ecology and Agricultural Sciences at Cornell conducted a study that shows a simple reduction in sugar, fats/oils and milk, meats and eggs would sufficiently reduce our calorie consumption to the recommended 2500 calories a day. Therefore, reducing the amount of overweight Americans and saving us $147 billion per year. So if these crops and meat are making us fat and unhealthy, then why is so much money given to their production. This is exactly the question I want you to ask!
Not only are these foods bad for our health, they are bad for our environment. By simply adopting a whole foods plant based diet we can reduce energy expenditures by 50%. This means less air pollutants, less sea pollutants, more land for healthy sustainable food resources and less overall toxicity for us.
We all know that Mother Earth cannot be sustained the way we are taking advantage of her precious energy resources. Maybe you are like me, you enjoy a plant based diet, grow your own food, shop your local CSA or farmer’s market. Truthfully, this just isn’t enough. We have got to do something more. I believe that there is a conscious awakening taking place. There is a universal stirring within each of us urging us to step out of our comfort zones and change the way we do things. I hope you will join me in writing to your Congressman or woman and ask them to look into these policies. See the letter I sent to Governor Jerry Brown below and send your own! Together we can make a difference!
Office Of Governor
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, Ca. 95814
Dear Governor Brown:
I am writing to you today as the voice of a concerned mother worried about the future of our children. Recently it has been brought to my attention the influence of farm subsidies, our food choices and the impact on the environment. I am asking that this letter motivate you to take a stand and voice your concern over this matter as well.
Today the average American, consumes 3,800 calories per day. This is part of the reason that 69% of the American people are overweight and/or obese. David Pimentel, Professor of Ecology and Agricultural Sciences at Cornell conducted a study that shows a simple reduction in sugar, fats/oils and milk, meats and eggs would sufficiently reduce our calorie consumption to the recommended 2500 calories a day, therefore, reducing the amount of overweight Americans and saving us $147 billion per year .
I urge you to take a look into why then, we have farm subsidies in the amount of $1,783,650,123 from the year 1995 to 2012 given to corn, dairy and livestock production. By removing the monies given to these industries, it would naturally reduce production and make it not as easily available for the consumer. Not only would it reduce the amount of overweight people, we could potentially reduce energy output by 50%; sustaining our precious resources for a much longer period of time.
There is no doubt that the way we are living is not sustainable. We are looking at a future epidemic of preventable chronic disease, which will cost us billions if not trillions in medical care, not to mention cause pain and suffering and death. These practices will also deplete our planet of precious resources and will not sustain our children. I urge you to please make a stand and do something about this.
Jennifer D. Lewis
Nourish The Gift
 Pimentel, D., Williamson, S., Alexander, C.E., Gonzalez-Pagan, O., Kontak, C. and Mulkey, S.E. 2008. Reducing Energy Inputs in the US Food System. Human Ecology 36: 459-471.