Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 25

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE We simultaneously have a massive industrial meat production system that uses most of the antibiotics employed in the entire country and steroid hormones banned elsewhere, yet also produces the cheapest food in the world. And so you have to think carefully about the implications of different components, the different portions of our society it would change. BHG: That raises a lot of really important issues that I hope we’ll unpack here. Let’s dig into a few of them. Both of my Professor Moyers: you both have an interest in the ethical ramifications of our food system. Could you respond to Dr. Kolmes in terms of the ethics of this both from a human standpoint, an animal standpoint, and an environmental standpoint? Derek Moyer: Well, I think there is more than one question that we’re asking. One question has to do with how food affects us when we eat it. It has to do with how we choose food that will not harm us. Another question has to do with equity; it has to do with access and how much it costs. As Dr. Kolmes indicated, those tw o concerns can conflict. I happen to come from a family that has always had enough food and has always been able to afford food. And my wife and I together make enough money now that we can afford to buy more expensive food that is better. We can afford to split a cow every year with a couple of other families from some neighbors of my aunt and uncle’s in Corbett. That cow cost about eighteen hundred dollars once it was butchered between the three families. Well, that’s a lot, but if you break it down per pound, it’s only about $4.50 per pound, which isn’t a lot of money if you compare it to a grocery store price. So, I think that we need to separate out the conversations to some extent in looking at what kinds of questions that we’re asking about food, about how we eat and why we eat and what we eat. When I go to the grocery store, I’m mostly thinking about where this food comes from and how it connects me to other people in the world. And unfortunately, for most of the food in the grocery store, we do not know how that food connects us to other people in the world. It’s true as Max said that all of the produce must be labeled with the country of origin. But if you go from the outside of the grocery store, where there’s produce and the meat and the deli and those things, to the center of the grocery store where there is all of the processed food that is in boxes, all of a sudden it becomes much more difficult to tell where this food came from and how it got to you. And I can’t really tell if I’m buying a product with forty different ingredients in it, and how it connects me to the world. I might be able to do that in some kind of minimal way by researching the company and how they resource their food, but much of that information for much of that food is not accessible to the average consumer. It’s very, very difficult to find out the processes of production for a lot of foods. So that’s one question: How does this food connect me to the world? And that question is a little bit different 22