When I think of ecoliteracy, I think of sustainability and I think of a healthy, thriving environment. What I did not think of was corn, as I am sure most people do not. However, little did I know, that corn is a huge reason behind the unsustainability in our world, especially within our food system.
In further explanation, the food industry is drastically impacting our food system in negative ways, which has many harmful impacts on our world. In Michael Pollan’s article We Are What We Eat, he tracks corn as it travels though the industrial food system and comes up with discoveries I found shocking. As Pollan states, “If you are what you eat, and especially if you eat industrial food, as 99 percent of Americans do, what you are is ‘corn.’” Corn is used in numerous types of meals, even ones you would never think of (such as the sweetener in soda or corn-fed beef in a burger). So because corn is so overly produced, it had lead to over consumption, which is a huge reason for the high obesity rates within our society—a connection I had never made before. This rapid consumption of corn also impacts farmer’s, for if a farmer is struggling with their business, the solution is to produce even more corn to bring in more money, adding to the vicious industrial food cycle.
Factors like these and their impacts are preventing the world I imaged of ecoliteracy to become a reality.
So in order to change this outcome we need to create an alternate food system. Ways of doing this would to buy locally from places such as Farmer’s Markets, to develop a system that can keep farmer’s in business without turning to overproduction, and to educate people on the impacts of purchasing industrial food.
As Pollan says, “[We need] to become responsible consumers… and ‘cocreate’ a different kind of food system.”
Pollan, M. (2009, June 29). We Are What We Eat. Retrieved September 22, 2015.