The Other Philpott on the Spinach Scare

Our sometime contributor Farmer Tom discusses the recent spinach hysteria on Grist. He surmises the real culprit is that infamous enemy of flavor and nutrition: industrial agriculture.

To avoid similar problems in the future, Tom encourages us to buy locally or grow our own.

1 comment:

Paul Hue said...

My reaction: We have nothing to fear. Every year millions of Americans die from the diseases caused by and exacerbated by junk food (hydrogenated oils, dyes, preservatives, refined sugar, pesticides, etc.) -- but even those people live to be 80 years old. Eating the food that Tom and I advocate might not extend your life, but we are convinced that they will drastically reduce your chances of suffering from these "chronic diseases", and guarantee you will enjoy your food more. I see nothing to worry about, even if every few years "manure-based fertilizer" (which Tom and I advocate) or any other aspect of natural foods takes down some old person (the only person to die so far, predictably, was over 70 years old).

The benefits of eating these foods in terms of (perhaps) extending lives or (most certainly) improving life quality certainly more than out-weighs 0.1 old people dying each year (one every decade?). I thus reject Tom's urgent plea to avoid this e. coli risk by taking the special pains to switch from Mega Spinach to Local Spinach: there's nothing to worry about to begin with, so I see no reason to change.

I agree with Tom's advocacy of hippie-farm-to-table greens; I've eaten Tom's greens at his table that he picked that morning at his hippie farm. Is there a practical way to get such greens to my table in subburban Detroit every day of the year? No. Ten years ago getting *any* real greens to my table was a chore; now I can get real greens at WalMart. This means that we natural food freaks are winning. One baby step remains, and that is to get the people buying real greens now at WalMart to value hippie greens... when they can get them. But on a daily basis, working for Mr. Charlie, cleaning your house, regulating your kids, fixing your lawn sprinkler, ferrying your kid to and from soccer... and now you want me to bypass WalMart for my greens, and... what? Wait until Saturday morning during a 4-hour window and drive to the single location of my local farmer's market?

More likely, I reckon, is that places like WalMart will start contracting with local hippies for special, just-picked, local foods, once we get "the people" to take that one extra baby step.