Rock, Paper, Scissors …….. #occupyfood

11

February 27, 2012 by dairycarrie

Rock Paper Scissors

I think all of us at sometime in our life have played Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide some issue in life. My husband and I will always remember that in the middle of our wedding, our pastor after realizing he hadn’t asked who would go first reading our “Statements of Intent”, suggested that we play RPS. We did and I won. The idea of Rock, Paper, Scissors is that nothing is better than the others. Each one can beat one of the others and can be beaten by one of the others. There is no real strategy to the game or way to win other than luck. You play a game or best two out of three and you move on.

It seems to me that there is a large game of Rock, Paper, Scissors being played with food these days. Except the words are Local, Organic, Conventional. Just the same as in the game, no one type of food or farming practice is better than the other. Each one is part of the food dynamic but you can’t just place one over the other and solve all the issues that people have with food.

Local- Can be a great way to connect consumers with their food beyond the grocery store isle. Consumers can get the freshest of the fresh in produce and that is fantastic. However we don’t all live in a temperate climates and living on hoop house grown greens all winter here in Wisconsin isn’t very practical.

Organic- Offers consumers who’s personal beliefs and ideas don’t connect with current practices and technology a way to continue to eat. However the price and availability of organic is a major limiting factor for many Americans. Add in the rest of the world the relies on American farmers to produce affordable and abundant food and Organic can’t be the only way to reach our end goal.

Conventional- Large farms and small farms working together to produce the safe, affordable and abundant food you and the rest of the world eat every day. However this sector of food production is also the worst about reaching out to consumers and keeping the lines of communication open.

If you play Rock, Paper, Scissors every day and you always throw down rock, it won’t take long for your opponent to beat you. Likewise if you choose only local or organic or conventional food choices you are choosing to ignore other vital factors to the food system that keeps the world running.

I have my own personal beliefs regarding each of these things. I tend to be biased against organic because I feel the rules involved are confusing and not always in the animals best interest. However I do believe that it would improve modern farming to adopt some of the ideas that come from Organic producers. I can tell you I have never looked at a bag of fruit at the grocery store to see where it came from but I do love going to our local farmer’s market. I choose to farm conventionally but I know we can do a better job of addressing consumers fears about the products we make.

Let’s keep the game playing to Rock, Paper, Scissors and not play games with our food.

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11 thoughts on “Rock, Paper, Scissors …….. #occupyfood

  1. texasagblogger says:

    Carrie and I both blogged on this today. She is spot on.

    Gene

  2. Jennifer says:

    I enjoyed the analogy. Great job!

  3. Eddie Borst says:

    First of all, Carrie you never cease to amaze me with your abundant knowledge of agriculture. I read a terrible blog this weekend that was blasting Monsanto. The blog was accompanied with photos of children and families appearing as zombies because they were eating food tainted with Monsanto’s “poisons”. I really upset me to read this and the more I read the madder I got. The blog blamed Monsanto for failing crops in India and other countries by saying that the plants grew but no crop appeared on the otherwise healthy looking plants. My guess was that the farmers there were saving seed from the previous harvest not knowing that genetically altered seed cannot reproduce viable seed from the initial harvest. Then they were saying that there is no proof that genetics plays any role in increased harvest production. Then they went on to attack the dairy industry and BST, well we already had that conversation. The upsetting part was how farmers are putting tainted foods into our diet causing our families to become dependent on these “additives” to the food chain. I will look for the link and send it to you.

    • Eddie, I work for Monsanto and am a good friend of Carrie’s. There are a lot of claims about what we do that just don’t ring true to farmers like Carrie who know our business directly. I’m so glad you seek the opinion of farmers before making up your mind on things. I’ll be glad to answer questions about how we do business as well. The success of farmers is critical to our business — without that, Monsanto can’t be successful. Besides that, farmers are our dear friends and in many cases family of our employees. We have emotional interests in helping farmers succeed and we all want healthy food on our tables as well.

      • DairyCarrie says:

        It’s true! Janice is a great person to answer questions about Monsanto and she is a fantastic friend!

      • Eddie Borst says:

        Janice, I have a degree in agronomy from Michigan State University and an Associates in Renewable Fuel Technology for Ethanol. I was a golf course Superintendent for 6 years and in the golf industry for 18 years and I am a certified pesticide applicator. I grew up in rural Michigan working on farms, baling hay, milking cows etc. I currently work for a large ethanol company in the water treatment lab doing sampling and testing. I know all about how the ag industry is viewed by uneducated people. All they see is sprayers spraying something and assume it is poison. They read articles without knowing the authors agenda then they get scared and word of mouth travels fast whether it is the truth or not. I appreciate you taking your time to reply to my comment. If you would like to discuss this any further or have any questions you can send me a message on Twitter @eddieborst or message me on Facebook and I will get back to you.

  4. I prefer to buy local for most food, don’t care too much about demanding organic, and rely on conventional production to fill out the rest. It’s impossible to stick with just one way of farming.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Great post, Carrie. I think that sums up a common feeling around the ag industry. Personally, I have nothing against organic dairies, but I am frustrated by the misinformation out there about conventional milk and the perpetuation of certain myths by organic food supporters. I fully support the consumer’s decision to drink organic milk, but I wish they were always basing that decision on factual information.

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