Saturday, February 6, 2010

What are we feeding ourselves? -- Another little food rant...

Tomato plant from our garden.

I went to the grocery store earlier today--I have been doing really well to shop from the 'perimeter' of the store like the experts suggest for the healthiest food options, but even still I have to be careful because there are hidden additives and preservatives that I wish weren't there. Reading labels amazes me sometimes for instance:
  • Yogurt--had corn syrup, tons of sugar, artificial flavors, and various ingredients that I couldn't spell. Why can't they just have Plain Jane yogurt without all the extra that makes it less beneficial?

  • Lunch Meat--more preservatives than you'd think--I always figured it was a fairly healthy meal choice, but not anymore.

  • Fruit Juices--none of them are just juice--why do they have to have five or six extra ingredients?

  • Milk--lots of them have added nutrients. I'd rather them just be plain, you know?

  • Cereal--it's truly hard to find a simple grain only cereal. I don't want artificial colors and flavors.

That's not even mentioning all the convenience foods--talk about words you can't even pronounce. And yet, every day we as consumers purchase these items without a pause. We truly don't know what we are putting in our bodies and nobody seems to care. I do though--I've really started to buy just the basic ingredients and make all of our meals from scratch, but even many of the most basic ingredients are produced in mass, so they have preservatives and additives in them. It seems so foolish to me. Why do we as a population depend on 'quick foods' and 'junk foods' instead of buying quality foods (ie, vegetables, meats, fruits, and dairy products) for our meals? It's gotten to the point that there are less choices of these quality foods available in stores because more and more items are becoming pre-packaged, and supposedly simplified. But what could be more simple than a banana or a carrot for a snack? We wonder how as a nation we've become obese and overweight.

That's why I'm such a promoter of self-sufficiency, local food, and direct-to-consumer agriculture. Raise all the food you are capable of. If you are in an apartment with a balcony, then raise a few herbs or a tomato plant. If you have a yard, then plant a garden that you can eat off of all summer and even can some for winter. Even better raise a small batch of hens and always have fresh eggs. If you have some acreage, then plant some fruit trees, raise a couple calves or piglets for meat, plant a huge garden and give what you can't eat to neighbors or sell the excess at a Farmer's Market. Can you imagine how much better this world would be if everybody would raise as much of their food as possible? Kids would have healthy food choices growing in their backyard, and even more important they would understand where their food comes from. Many kids today don't realize that there is a farm behind their glass of milk. Instead they just think as long as their is grocery stores there will be food. Wouldn't it be great if instead of going to a supermarket for your weekly groceries you take your family to the local Farmer's Market and create relationships with the various farmers in your area. That sounds blissful to me. Then again, I'd love to see a comeback in home dairy delivery and huckster wagons and the quality that went along with them.

I guess the point to this rant is that I don't see how America has let itself get to this point. Our food system is all wrong. We should be pushing for less industrialization and more small-scale farming operations that allow for better quality and not necessarily as much product as possible. To me the ideal is for everybody to do their part in feeding the whole. Support your local food producers--whether it be your neighbor's garden or the dairy farm just outside the city limits. Food shouldn't come from a factory. It needs to go back to the farm.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Amazing Etsy Photographer --

Here's another great shop -- It houses a lot of "Through the Viewfinder" prints of various subject matter. My favorites in the shop are her seagull photos. The point of view that she chose to take the photos of the seagulls is appealing to because it makes the birds look larger than life. The TtV effect also gives them a nice vintage quality. The artist also has a blog at "Overcast Day Dandelions"

"Sepia Seagulls"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Amazing Etsy Photographer --

This photographer has a shop that I'm quite envious of -- There are so many wonderful works here that I had a very hard time choosing my three images to feature. The textures and color combinations in all three of these photographs are what drew me to them. I'd say "Ruby jade" is my favorite--the name of the piece goes along with the image and I like the way your eye trickles down from the top of the page. I also really enjoy "Green Hill" because of how your eye travels the line of the landscape. Not only does this photographer have an incredible shop, she has a great blog too at which I've greatly enjoyed reading. "Love's language"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Amazing Etsy Photographer --

There is such a variety of subjects in the photographs in the shop Everything from landscapes, to food, to animals, and I found quite a few that I really like. As always I narrowed them down to three to feature here. My easy favorite is "The Washing Line" for the composition's eye lines and softness of focus. I also like the composition of "Cows" because it strikes me as beautiful--perhaps for the pretty clouds, or the softly rolling pasture, or the quiet stand of trees, or the sweet little grouping of calves. I'm going to say that it is the mixture of all of these--it'd be a perfect scene that I'd stop to photograph when I'm out gallivanting, so I think that's what attracts me to that particular image. To see the rest of this artist's work you should go look at her shop. She also has a blog at

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Amazing Etsy Photographer --

The brightness and vivid colors found in the shop are something I'd like to aim toward in my future work. Sure I achieve color, but in "Willow" you can feel the sunshine, and in "Berry Crush" the yellow and red play off of one another to create an eye-popping photograph. My favorite image however has to be of "On the Fence." I have a very similar photo that I took on a gallivant once. Captured is a beautiful silhouette of the bird, whereas mine was of a little sparrow in the mist on a dreary day. I like this one much better than mine. The artist also has a blog at"On the Fence"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Amazing Etsy Photographer --

I like the way the photographs in the shop make me feel. They are like a slide show from a vacation I never took, but would love to someday. Of memories I've never had, but that are somehow familiar. The artist does a good job at narrowing our focus onto details. He makes us look at things harder, and longer than we perhaps would if he didn't call our attention there. "The Plymouth--Part II," for example, shows us that there is beauty in a decaying car, and "The Beautiful Depression" shows that there is beauty underfoot. I like to take the time to actually be in my surroundings, and see what I might overlook if I was to be too busy. This mindset is what his shop reminds me of. I wish the artist had a blog because I bet I'd like what he had to say, plus if he posted photos like these it would be lovely to look at too.