This past week has caused me to reminisce on my childhood a lot; when I felt like I actually had time to bake homemade bread regularly, go to the fair to pet the goats, and plant seeds. Whereas I used to cook and bake several times a week, I can hardly remember the last time I made a whole meal myself. Here I eat whatever’s put out on the serving line without ever questioning what’s in it or where it came from. My friends and I often joke we don’t even want to look at the nutrition labels, but, in reality, that’s not much of a joke. Thinking about the amount of processed foods I must is, quite frankly, disgusting. Why is it that I somehow ate so much healthier and took more time to cook from scratch as a child than I do now, when I should be much more knowledgeable and capable?
Considering this question caused me to recall a TED talk video I found on Pinterest a few months ago. http://www.ted.com/talks/birke_baehr_what_s_wrong_with_our_food_system.html
What first caused me to notice it was that a child was giving the talk. Eleven-year-old Birke Baehr, whose dream it is to become an organic farmer, charismatically and informatively speaks about what he refers to as “the dark side of the industrialized food system,” as well as some alternatives to this dark side. Watching the video, I was shocked. This 11-year-old kid knew significantly more about the food I was eating than I did as a 22-year-old soon-to-be college graduate. There is something seriously wrong with that. In spite of being a little embarrassed at being outsmarted by an 11-year-old, I really listened to his take-home message to “think local, choose organic, know your farmer, and know your food.” It’s just a few phrases, but is easier said than done, so I wasn’t (and still am not) completely sure how to do that. In a society where quantity, price, and convenience seem to take priority over everything, it’s difficult to make such a drastic change. Thinking back over past experiences, most of my best achievements have been reached as a result of setting and working toward very small goals, so that is what I have decided to do in this case, rather than suddenly completely changing my diet. My first goal will be to get back to my habits of cooking regularly that I left behind in childhood. I encourage others to set small goals as well. In the words of the inspiring Birke Baehr, let’s make a difference “one kid at a time,” or in my case, one college student at a time.