Have you ever purchased an item that was sold as “one size fits all”? There are some items, like a rain poncho, that worked for me to buy that way. That wasn’t the case when I went to buy a pair of rubber gloves. I found it very difficult to stuff my hands into a glove that was made for much smaller hands than mine. Has this ever happened to you?
Imagine shopping for clothes if your choices were limited to the one size fits all label. Would we be limited to buying stretch pants and pull-over tops? The one time in my life that I actually liked elastic pants was when I was pregnant. Even the labels small, medium and large can be frustrating if you don’t know how much they will shrink. Fortunately, we have clothing made for all shapes and sizes including specialty stores for those needing even more choices.
What about food choices? Besides a plethora of diets to choose from we also have plenty of choices when it comes to how the food was raised. When I was a child, my mom didn’t have the labels of organic, grass-fed, hormone free, etc. to look at. Mom often bought the items that were on sale that week to feed our family of eight. Now when a mom goes to the store, there are labels and whole grocery aisles of specialty foods that can be quite confusing. Learning what labels mean and understanding more about production practices can help. You can learn more about labels here.
When Steve and I were raising our children we could choose to eat food from our farm and from the grocery store. I took pride in having a big garden with items to freeze or can for winter meals. Perhaps many of you also enjoy gardening and eating the fruits, or veggies in my case, of your labor. We sometimes butcher a steer from our farm but also buy meat at the grocery store. I never doubted the safety or quality of the food from the grocery store or from our farm. How the food was raised was not a concern of mine and our children were healthy and active with doctor visits due mostly from sports injuries.
In our culture today we have many people concerned about how food is raised. Part of that is due to the change in the size of farms as well as fewer people doing the farming. Farms have changed over the centuries to meet the needs of the people needing to be fed. The food choices we have today are very important so that those with food sensitivities can find what they need as well as the family on a tight budget.
Our farm practices are designed to feed more people using less resources. We utilize the science and research done by our universities and yes, companies that sell us seed, weed control and veterinary medicine. We utilize a hormone implant in cattle, antibiotics for disease and seed corn that can defend itself against a pest through DNA procedures. It is very important to us to use methods that will leave us a better farm tomorrow. Putting research into practice is akin to saying the proof is in the pudding. Continually finding better ways to improve our soil, provide better care for the cattle and produce a healthy food choice is what we work for.
I encourage people on all sides of the debate about food production to first accept the need for a variety of farming methods and second to spend time getting to know farmers by asking us how we do what we do. It is through shared friendly discussions that we all benefit from a continued food supply to meet the needs of a many sizes needed to fit all society.