"We shall have to count the many hidden costs of what we are doing," the environmentalist Rachel Carson told a congressional committee in 1963. Carson was speaking about the dangers of pesticides. I feel the same thing could be said about our disconnection in the United States from economies of the soil.
Only 2% of Americans fish or farm for a living today--down from nearly half of Americans a century ago--and hundreds of thousands of small farmers have been pushed off of their land. Most of us do not know how to provide for ourselves on the most basic level. The average item of food we eat travels 1,500 miles from the field to the consumer.
There are advantages of convenience in this new food system. But there are also too many hidden costs to what we are doing. Here are what I feel are seven consequences of our disconnection from our sources of food, as discussed in my book, The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities [Gotham, $26.00].