Taking Responsibility: Our Health Affects More Than Ourselves

It’s National Farmers Market Week and here’s a sampling from the “good branding” folder of my media library. My marketing mind is kind of weird that way—if I see someone doing a good job promoting their business, out comes my camera and snap goes a picture into my collection. Future reference, don’tcha know.

This week, however, the Foodlove Farm catches my eye for other reasons. I’m thinking more in terms of healthy food love and how necessary it is in the midst of our pandemic.

Everything we read says COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting those already suffering from poor health, particularly diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s as if COVID is America’s karma for decades of high fructose corn syrup and over-processed food.

And yet, we act so surprised.

(Rant alert: My husband was once again exposed to COVID, meaning THIS GRANDMA DOESN’T GET TO SEE HER GRANDKIDS.)

Double Rant Alert

For years food advocates (Mark Bittman, Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Alice Waters and so many more) have been telling us to clean up our eating act. Yet poor diets threaten our national security.

When Michelle Obama initiated her Let’s Move Campaign and healthy school lunch standards, Americans were offended by her lack of trust in their ability to feed their families.

When major cities began taxing soda or New York’s Mayor Bloomberg tried to eliminate the Big Gulp, Americans rebelled, saying government was overstepping their right to choose.

Whenever public health officials push for restrictions on buying junk food with food stamps, their efforts are downplayed because it’s “too costly and complicated and wouldn’t change eating habits.”

As an aside, I agree that corporate food industry and government carry much of the blame for America’s health problems. Corporate concerns are only for profit and they have lots of money to back their cause. They regularly infiltrate their lobbyists into the very agencies that are supposed to protect us. Like the top reps from the beverage industry who dined with Governor Jerry Brown before he signed California’s 12-year ban on soda tax. Or Kailee Tkacz, a former lobbyist for the Snack Food Association and the Corn Refiners Association, who now serves as an adviser for the USDA. The only healthy we have here is corporate.

But if we’re going to play the blame game, maybe we at the consumer level should also take responsibility. If we go back to the excuses listed above—”my rights,” or “I’m smart enough to feed my own family,” or “too costly,” blah, blah, blah—it’s obvious we’re fighting a rather self-centered, losing battle. Maybe our food choices haven’t been so good. Maybe we need to educate ourselves on healthy eating. Maybe we need to be willing to spend more on our diet.

And maybe, just maybe, we need to recognize that how we take care of ourselves affects other people, even our national economy.

National Farmers Market Week

This week—and every week—think about shopping at farmers markets. COVID has necessitated a lot of changes to markets but they’re still hanging in there, finding innovative ways to get healthy food on your table. Give them your support!

And Now, Back to My Marketing!

Here’s a kudos for Lovefood Farm from Stoughton, WI. We buy their food at the Dane County Farmers Market and Willy Street Co-op. They’re doing a great job branding and marketing themselves, which means greater success for their business. This is good. We want them to stay in business because their food is really, really good!

Thanks, Lovefood Farm!

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