In the past three days, we’ve learned that a subsidiary of Kroger is set to buy bunches of Marsh Supermarkets (two of them here in Bloomington), and Amazon is going to buy Whole Foods (A “lower-cost” version of Whole Foods, “360”, is set to open here soon.)
Meanwhile, will our beleagered Bloomingfoods Co-op, over 40 years old, survive? Should it?
While we can celebrate the growing inclusion of local and organic produce in supermarkets, the fact that these gigantic and ever-growing corporate enterprises seem to be bent on taking over the entire food supply feels, frankly, terrifying. Fortunately, despite this centralizing trend, backyard, front yard, and community gardens, plus farmers markets, CSAs, and so on, are also proliferating, both here, and elsewhere. Locals both sung and unsung are digging in to their own decentralized ways of ensuring the regeneration of the human race. One current map for permaculture projects shows 2375 projects total worldwide.
In New Zealand, for example, way down a dirt road: Heirloom seed saving for all of us. Initiated after Chernobyl, 30 years ago, when organic and permaculture guru Kay Baxter discovered that her farmer friends in eastern Europe had to remove all their top soil and start over. Now, one full Saturn cycle later, the Kaoanga Institute has become an international pilgrimage destination.
“We have to have clean food that hasn’t been denatured with fillers and emulsifiers,” says Kay. “We need nutrient-dense food. The industrial process just denatures it, we get unclear messages, mixed messages, weak messages going to our junk DNA which then places weak tags on our DNA so we get sick and the next generation gets sicker.
“We now know that environment determines genetic expression. Essentially, you cannot get the nourishment you need from the foods in the supermarket because it’s not nutrient dense and it’s not nutrient dense for two reasons: one is the way it’s grown and the other is the genetics that the food was grown from.”
Organic, heritage vegetables, grains and fruit, and meat, organs and bones from animals grown on highly mineralised soils full of microbial life are the best foods you can eat, and the science backs this, says Kay.
“There’s around 20 times the nourishment in a heritage tomato than an industrial one, just from the different genetics. In apples it’s eight times, so we know we need heritage seeds and we need to grow the food in a biological system so the soil is mineralised and microbially active and those two things are key for our health and our survival.”