NPR’s “The Salt” blog had an interesting piece today on a phrase that gets used a lot: the assertion that American farmers “feed the world”. As often happens, the real fun starts in the comments section. People who have, perhaps never grown anything in their backyard and may have never even visited a farm feel free to weigh in and dispense advice! So, they assert, that American farmers are actually forcing the rest of the world to eat nutritionally poor food grown in a way that is harmful for the environment.
While there is room for improvement, the reality is that most farmers are mindful of the environment and try to grow food in a sustainable way. Of course, big agribusinesses came up for criticism as well. But what was interesting was the perspective of most commentators was so narrow. To a family struggling with drought and famine and unable to feed themselves, a sack of grain, however imperfect, is a miracle. And sometimes, that grain comes from America, simply because there is extra that can be shared or because of abundance it sells for a lower price.
It always amazes me how people think that simply because we all eat food we are competent to pass judgement on those who actually grow it!