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Can Food Dictators and Food Choices Co-Exist?

April 19, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve written many times about food choices – those who restrict them, those who empower and those who make them.  It seems like the folks that are the harshest critics are those who say they support those doing what we do, but who want everyone to think just like them.

Recently on a Facebook forum I was having, I thought, a civil discussion with someone that professed to agree with most of what we do, but disagreed and threatened to ban me for not agreeing with all of what was said.

I’ve had this page for over 4 years and have a well-visited blog that’s run for 7 years, and I’ve never had such a rash of critical responses from any of my commenters. I also belong to the sustainable food community and am well-respected by my friends, peers, and colleagues. – Raine

This brought up more questions – ones I knew I’d never get honest answers from. This seemed like a lot of inflation for discussing comments from Joel Salatin (someone he brought up!). While everyone likes to be respected, if everyone always agrees with us, do we grow? Does it challenge us?

Or is it a matter of food choices not being the goal. Food choices say if you choose something different that’s ok. Food dictatorships say you must eat and think like me and eat for the right reason! It brings up bans and boycotts of products that they don’t eat anyway.

Another comment from one of the page fans –

Gina Lykouretzos WOW, where are all the frankenfarmers coming from? GMO supporters should stick to Monsanto pages. I would eject the trolls who come just to argue reasons to keep this garbage to feed humans, morons. Sorry, you are far more patient than I.

@Jan, you and your like minded (brainwashed, in my opinion) friends can continue to support what your consumers demand, we dont care.

I find it really, really odd that a page that says “We are here to educate and spread the word about truly traditional and sustainable farming methods and practices, eco-friendly living, and all related topics for those who are interested and willing” can also slam farmers who follow traditional, sustainable farming methods, eco-friendly living as being “brainwashed” for saying a difference of opinion. What was so offensive? Choices? Should we not say that everyone has choices? Should we condemn the choices of hundreds of millions of people, as this seems to do?

Discussion is good – it’s how we gather information and get the tools to decide and build our lives. The “shut up and listen to me, don’t question” is the opposite. It’s saying you must not think differently than me because I tell you how to interpret what I let you read. Transparent? Honest? I think not.

I have done the research, and have read from some who did more extensive research than I. It didn’t come to the same conclusions. Elimination of GMOs is not allowing food choices either. That’s in action what people want. I offer something else and I can guarantee there’s less wanting it than buying poptarts or McDonald’s. Do I like it? Not particularly – but it *is* consumer demand. *I* cannot feed hundreds of thousands of people, nor can Joel Salatin do so *and* remain as he is. For those who want – and will buy accordingly – food choices, great! We’re there. Not everyone does, and most do not want the drudgery of raising and processing food – many won’t take time to cook food (or there’d be much less restaurants! on a regular basis. Those things are consumer demand also. ~ Jan Hoadley

Now this is just one conversation. One part of one conversation. But because I won’t condemn food choices – and the resulting farm choices – we’re worthy of insults? How, dear reader, is that embracing food choices for all?

If we came on and said “you MUST buy from us” you would scoff and never come back at the pompous ravings, and rightly so! Isn’t it much easier to talk to those we all agree with than reach those who haven’t yet decided? I hope this is a place people will ask questions, seek out those choices, think about what THEY believe. That’s far more rewarding to me than 800 who agree with everything we say.

I often talk of having a discussion – talking about views and giving our point of view and experience. There are many who seem to want to reach only those who pat them on the back and agree – and of course everyone likes that! But why get hostile and offended if someone disagrees? Some love green houses – I think they are hideous. So what! If you like green paint your house green!

If you don’t want GMO goods in your home great. If you want to know where the chicken was raised and what breed the lamb was and when the pig was born that’s going in your freezer then awesome! We’d love to help you out! But the reality is there’s over 308million people out there who will never buy a rabbit or turkey or chicken from us. They eat too. And I hope we all, always, have food choices.

Even if they’re different.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2013 7:41 AM

    This is so true. I strongly believe there is room for all forms of agriculture. In the end, farmers will continue to follow the demand of consumers. As agvocates, we need to help consumers make informed decisions about their food. I am a strong believer that agriculture needs to stand together and stop arguing amongst itselves. If we continue, not only will we help tear agriculture to shreads, we will allow others to spread poor messages about agriculture as a whole (PETA etc). Great post!

    • April 19, 2013 11:15 AM

      Thanks & thanks for stopping by. I suppose we could sell a whole lot more if we quit and just did what others do, or condemned what others do so we’re different/better. But food choices embrace *both* and so much more. Thanks for stopping by & commenting.

  2. John Swain permalink
    April 19, 2013 3:45 PM

    Sorry Jan, but I *do* agree with everything you said in this post! And I love the term ‘food dictators’! Long live food choices, and thanks for a GREAT read!

    • April 19, 2013 5:15 PM

      Thank you John. It’s hard to listen sometimes when we’re wrong…but we all have what’s right for us. I think that’s where we all need to find – not me telling you or others what they need to do but more here’s the information…decide what’s right for you. Thanks!

  3. April 19, 2013 4:18 PM

    Thank you. Great writing. Great points. Totally agree.

  4. Peggy Jackson permalink
    April 19, 2013 4:45 PM

    I agree, Jan. It is really hard to get others to understand that condemning all GMOs is not the answer. Short term patents, and allowing farmers to save second or third generation seed seems reasonable for the farmers. As to educating those who demand choice but really mean their way or the highway,”there are none so blind as those who will not see” or in this case hear.

    • April 19, 2013 5:17 PM

      We should only change that which we see that affects us. Leaving many to do without isn’t what we’re about – thanks for stopping by!


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