5 steps to understanding policy, how it affects our food and what we can do to shape it
Wherever you are on the journey towards healing and healthy foods, it is a fantastic adventure!
Politics is the hidden backdoor to health. “Politics,” or “policy,” in this post, refers specifically to politics within government that shapes policy on any level of government and thus the food choices we have easily available to us–our perceived choices. Policy forms the bigger picture of what is happening in the world around us that affects the health of our planet and inevitably, our health. Ultimately, we are influencing policy whether by our contributions and actions or by our inactions.
Confusing buzzwords can lead to mental paralysis as we work to find the meaning and implication of policy in our own lives. The paralysis surrounding these topics can make it difficult to know when and how to act.
Breath. It’s okay. You did not take your journey into natural living or healthy eating in one step and you won’t become an expert in food policy overnight. But there are steps you can take today, tomorrow, and the next day that will align you with your goals for a vibrantly healthy, naturally peaceful life that simultaneously and inevitably transform the world around you into a peaceful, sustainable world where wellness will flourish.
1. Become informed.
** Please note that this post may contain affiliate links which means that I can receive a small payment if you make a purchase through my links.
Knowing the current reality is an important step for any issue. Whether you want to learn more about GMOs, arsenic in the chicken feed, what fracking is and how it affects our food and water, CAFOs, why “organic” is becoming diluted, Farmageddon, the legal challenges facing our farmers, or anything else, find out who or what organization puts out regular, reliable information on the topic and then stay up to date.
2. Take action
When presented with an opportunity, take action. Policy shapes every aspect of your life including your health. Do you want to have any voice in that policy? Who is shaping that policy? Chemical companies? Industrial Farming? Politicians? Bureaucrats? Since you will be keeping up with the topics you care most about, you will know when, where, why and how to take specific actions. You have the opportunity to make that call, go to that hearing, attend the trial of a farmer, and participate in the community gardening project… I can’t promise that it will be easy, but I can promise that it will always be worth the effort!
3. Know your boundaries
This is a big one. As documented recently, in the movie Farmageddon, our good, clean food is under attack and in serious jeopardy. At what point will your allegiance to peaceful food choice be stronger than your allegiance to the law or to social norms? It might help to begin reflecting on that question. It’s okay to not have an answer right now, but reflecting on it now will help you know your boundaries when the opportunity arises. Do you think this exercise is a little extreme? Follow step one and then come back to this step in a few months.
4. Produce your own food
There is not better way to shape the world we live in than by producing our own food ethically and sustainably. Whether it’s a full homestead, a community garden, a back/front yard garden or a few potted herbs, this simple yet profound act gives back to the earth and builds soil while teaching us the wisdom that only the earth has to offer. There is nothing like it and there will never be a greater appreciation for food than what you produce yourself or in community. Here are some helpful tips.
5. Build community through food
It might seem odd that focusing on your own community is a key to shaping food policy worldwide or nationally, but your community is the foundation. Imagine what it would look like to participate in a community garden, share produce with your neighbors or join a CSA. Imagine the message you send to farmers near you when you choose THEIR farm to feed your family. Imagine the community you build when you give a hug to the human being who is producing your nourishment, look them in the eye and say “thank you!” Imagine the eco-system you are supporting when you say yes to local food, ecological farming, and sustainably raised food.
This is within your power. It is your choice to create a healthier community, a healthier planet while creating the vibrantly healthy YOU! Thank you! You are the hero of this story!
Liz Reitzig is the author of NourishingLiberty.com a blog that focuses on food as the foundation as freedom and ways every individual can become involved. She is the co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition and has participated in food politics on the local, state and national levels. Liz works with farmers around the country who are facing regulatory or legal challenges to help their communities become involved and peacefully resolve their challenges. Liz has organized grassroots activities to promote awareness of and support for the legal hurdles facing small family farms.
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