Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 89

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE forward to come summer time, but rather a bland, mealy version that is ground up and “processed into a wide range of food and industrial products including fuel ethanol.”11 Today’s farms then provide for the farmer and their family financially, but not nutritionally. This also means that today’s farms do not provide food for the local community as they once did. Secondly, the problem with the high-yielding farms today is that the food industry must find something to do with all the corn, for example, the farmers produce.12 How does one feed a nation with millions of tons of corn that no one wants to eat? In short, the corn is processed into either grain or synthetic food additives, and is either fed to livestock and poultry or added into processed foods in many forms.13 Thirdly, the productivity comes at the cost of the immediate and long-term health of the land, as well as those tasked with farming the land.14 “More than 99% of food worldwide comes from the soil ecosystem. Rapid erosion of soil is reducing food production—and causing serious losses in biodiversity.” This erosion and loss of biodiversity has had a significant negative impact on “30% of the world’s cropland,” causing it to be less productive which has, in turn, “contributed to the malnourishment of more than 3 billion people.”15 “People who know about farming, who know what farmland requires to remain productive, are worried.”16 In short, most farmers17 are forced to, for the sake of short-term profit, grow (1) more crops than the soil can handle; (2) crops they and their communities cannot themselves eat; and (3) crops in a way that does long-term damage to the very thing they rely upon for their livelihood—the soil. 11. Ibid. 12. While corn is not the only crop grown in excess in the United States, it is the most common and therefore is used here as the primary example. 13. Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 85–95. 14. Wendell Berry, Home Economics: Fourteen Essays (San Francisco, CA: North Point Press, 1987), 130. 15. David Pimental and Donald L. Sparks, “Soil as an Endangered Ecosystem,” Bioscience 50, no. 11 (November 2000): 947. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed October 14, 2015). 16. Berry, Home Economics, 130. 17. There is a small population of farmers who farm more traditionally, but if there is to be a change in the way the land is farmed and cared for, the bigger farms need to get on board as well. 86