MenU; yes; it's about Me 'n' U

Last week you were introduced to the ancient system of 'triguna'; three qualities which imbue life (whether you know about them or not!) and which informs everything we do, say, think...and what we eat.

It was also mentioned that food is a highly emotive subject. In the days of the hunter-gatherer, food was not just about survival of the individual, but of the species and already it was understood that banding together into family units, extended groups with looser ties but still interdependent and the setting up of trade, were about maintaining life by ensuring ample food, clothing secondary. Maintaining life involves fuelling the body. That means food. Gradually, as Mankind settled down and his numbers burgeoned trade was not just in the food and the sharing of it, but in the utensils around the preparation of it; all the way from tools to work the ground to sow the seed and tend the flocks, through to tools to harvest and slaughter and then into the home with tools to preserve and cook... and so on and so forth.

Yes, staying alive meant defending territory and the precious items. It was, however, only once Mankind had truly stabilised farming methodology and could pretty much guarantee his food sources that he started to scan around for something more to do with himself. Now the neighbour's crops, cattle, women, all started to be a thing of desire. Not because 'we are hungry' but because of the sense of power and the growth of 'politics'. This was the time when land was being demarcated and considered as 'owned'. ...  'Let's go ransacking'. The levels of ruthlessness required merely to survive were now turned to pillage and plunder of the resources of others.

The nature of this and the extent of it varied according to location on the globe. No community was immune. Without having to give an entire history lesson, though, it might be understood that some cultures were more prone to moving over boundaries than others.

Along with increasing 'sophistication' came increasing perversions of the human nature. In Western terms these are 'nutshelled' as the seven sins; pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, sloth. In Samskritam there are six  kaama (lust), krodha (anger), loba (greed), moha (attachment/avarice /delusion), ahankaara (pride/egoism) and matsalya (jealousy).

...Okay. By this time you are wondering about the YAMster. She's lost the plot, you may be thinking. Where's the menu in this rant?

Farming was mentioned. I doubt that it is necessary to stand on a pulpit and propound the misdemeanours of the factory-farming that now goes on around the world. The things that drive these places boil down to the gluttony of the human race, the greed of the producers and the egotistical, delusional governments which permit the continuation of these practices; not necessarily the individuals within the governments, but the overall machinery that runs despite the best efforts of those individuals. Everything is so locked up that making any real change gets put into the too hard basket.
No one, anywhere, has yet found the 'cahunas' to yell STOP!

There are more and more farmers around the world who are making their own small efforts to reverse the downslide. There is a strong and growing movement for sustainable and local produce, not to mention organically nurtured and grown and non-GM. The concept of the 'farmers market' is catching on and cutting out the middleman and hypermart. What is more, customers are becoming more savvy about what they put into their bodies. This applies to all, be they vegetarian or omnivore.

Let me be clear about something, in case you are despairing of me at the moment; these articles have not been written in order to try and 'convert' you into vegos. However, thinking again about 'you are what you eat'... given a choice between a slice of meat which has been kept in a pen only six inches wider than its body, chained and in the dark on restricted diet to keep that meat pale, or a similar slice of meat which you know had the full run of a meadow for four months, suckled from its own mother, and generally had a good life till slaughter ... which are you going to choose? Is it not reasonable to expect that the same conscience which is repulsed by the acts of cruelty visited upon companion animals would be consistent and care about the animals it permits its body to consume? Does that conscience not consider the possibility that by partaking of food not ethically produced, such conscience at best sits in hypocrisy, at worst is complicit in actions of cruelty and mismanagement?

This does not have to be the spiritual basis upon which I make my food choices, then. It also does not necessarily require that you be vegetarian. What is being asked here is awareness. It is important, regardless of flesh OR plant intake, that we make conscious choices as to the provenance of that food. This not only means that we are doing our own very small part in making some change to the world, but also that we are likely to be making  some positive change for the betterment of our health - and without doubt, such awareness brings about a higher resonance within our personality (call it soul, if you will...) For those who are fortunate enough to have the space and the energy to grow their own produce and to, perhaps, source their own meat, all power to you! For those of us who have not the land, or the wherewithal to cultivate such, then surely it makes sense to take organic produce where ever we can?

Admittedly, even when we come to know how unethical so much of modern farming is, it can be a challenge to live up to our ideals. Sometimes this is driven by our personal economics, it must be acknowledged. Honestly though. If the public at large really felt strongly enough about stopping the horrors of battery farming, genetic mutation of crops and gross incompetency of land management all that would be required to make the powers sit up and think is for us all - every single one of us - to convert to organic and ethically grown produce; if the other stuff isn't getting bought but the organic stuff is, then there is going to be interest in altering strategy.
What if the public at large, as a single body, were to develop the 'cahunas' to yell STOP!?

...bit of a pipe dream that one; but had to get it off my chest.

This piece began by noting that food is highly emotive. It is. Food is the one thing which anchors us with the land no matter how far removed the larger part of humanity now is from 'the land'. Food is also one of the few things which builds proper bonds within humanity; dating right back to the hunter-gatherers. Food is a functional part of culture... and that is where we'll pick it up next week.

..................................................................(Is that screaming I hear???)

I know. It was a wee bit serious this week. It is dear to this heart though... and it was the week the blog
wore orange. There are, of course, voices in the crowd who are yelling and much more loudly than me. I am not a 'front liner'. I may be a woman of peace, but I also accept that there are armies required. In the same vein, whilst I would not at all advocate the likes of radical animal protest to the point of 'war', we do actually need such radicals to keep us on our toes and our consciences pricked. Whilst I opt for shakahara (vegetarianism) based upon spiritual grounds, there is also the ethical part. Health, for me, is almost secondary but of course there are significant benefits there too and for many, that is the primary reason for such choice. I'll leave you today with some links to vids. Not embedded today; the choice to view will thus be one of conscious action - even if it is only to satisfy curiosity.

Diet For a New America - only came across this as I was preparing today's rant, but it totally addresses the concerns I have so ineptly outlined. (NB; because I have watched this and the next one via my tubular list, they may begin somewhere midstream so will need wind-back....)

Googletalks with John Robbins - this is the 25yr anniversary from that first video; which demonstrates that the need and the points made then still hold today.

This one is a promo on Vimeo which you can 'rent' online... the battle of the small dairy farmer... Highly recommended!!!


The Moo Man from Trufflepig Films on Vimeo.

To read more on what it takes to engage in ethical production, do please read about AHIMSA DAIRY.

Food for thought........... (ahem....)
Once again, thank you for listening &*>

..and don't forget our invitation to Blogville!


18 comments:

  1. WE live in a very RURAL area.... mostly very SMALL Farms around us... and they are having a VERY hard time making Ends Meet... on what they can produce for personal use and SALE... it is very sad. BIG MONEY Farms are taking OVER and running them out.

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    1. Hari OM
      Oh yes it is heartbreaking for any who are attached to rural area. My own family background on mother's side is hill farming in borders Scotland; such small holdings are virtually extinct now... however there is a resurgence in folk seeking to start up private and very local enterprise... So many farmers here, in OZ and in India have committed suicide as the traditional farming methods are ridden roughshod by the BIGGIES and companies intent on selling toxic chemicals..... I thought about you on your hill as I was writing this and all the lovely produce you grow..... Yxx

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  2. I support small farms, but as Frankie mentioned they really struggle against the huge factory farm machine and the various food industries that support them - who I understand are like the mafia beating up and bullying small farmers. I try to make responsible food choices, but it is difficult to say the least

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    1. Hari OM
      Yes, as I replied to the guys, it is a terrible state of affairs for the genuine and traditional farmers - like the fellow in the Mooovie I linked here. Some like him are doing their best to rebuild public interest - and more folk are - but the biggies really are bullies - not to mention the supermarts who subsidise particularly milk .... that is truly a racket... it can only come down to more and more like us who make as many positive choices as we can. But I agree - my heart breaks sometimes that particuarly where I live, the choices are limited and that too, to the 'offenders'.... sigh.... thanks for dropping by! Yxx

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  3. Speaking as an omnivore, I DO care about what sort of lives the farmed animals live. One of my favourite meats is lamb. Although not all sheep farming practices are ideal (as I know, having witnessed hundreds of sheep being unloaded from the rustbuckets that transport them in cramped conditions on the rough seas from Shetland to Aberdeen), I do think that most Scottish sheep are kept in reasonable conditions, assuming they like grazing on wet and windy hillsides of course!
    Oh and on a more positive note, we should also remember that the switch from hunter gatherer societies to farming allowed humans to devote more energies to art, music, literature, philosophy, science etc etc. It wasn't all bad stuff!
    Cheers,
    Gail.

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    1. Hari OM
      Oh indeed and that is not at all forgotten as far as building civilization; that was implied in 'finding other things to do with themselves' - however the focus of this little series is food and the sourcing of it.

      Buying Scottish lamb through a butcher by whom one can establish provenance is a definite plus! I am aware that majority readers here are inclined to this more aware food practice. Sadly we are all of trapped to some extent by the supermart and imported produce. Even in fruit and veg. The demands of those chains force many farmers into practices which they might not otherwise undertake.

      Our wonderful programs like Landward and Countryfile often bring these issues forward too - just what the answers are is quite another thing! Certainly the wider we can cast the net of awareness, the more folk who take a stand, the greater the possibility of turning the tables on the bullies... Thanks for taking interest &*> Yxx

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  4. this weekend we are actually going to a huge completely organic and all natural farmers market - we are so looking forward to it. Growing up in Australia we always had our own chickens, grew lots of our own veggies and had a back yard full of fruit trees. Americans think you are crazy of you want to plant a veggie patch or grow fruit trees in your own yard....kinda of weird if you ask me that they don't

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    1. Hari OM
      hehehe I know what you mean - but there are, as always, exceptions - our own darling Frankenfurter and his sidelicker Ernie, to name a couple!!! Oh lucky you getting to the market.... Yxx

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  5. On the one hand, I wonder how the world will be fed. On the other hand, I wonder how the world will be fed. Killing ourselves through chemicals and unknown GMS, or starving through want of production.

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  6. Big farms out, little farms in! I wish it was easier to feed myself. It is so hard. The big companies have changed our food too much.

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  7. I read through all you have written and although I don't quite understand all you have said I think I get the gist of it.
    We once grew our own vegies but as you age those tasks become too much so off to the supermarket. We have some stores that sell produce they've grown but you can never find a full range of vegies as it depends on what they are picking that week.
    I think when the 'big boys' choose what we are all going to eat or drink there is little choice left for us. It would be nice to get right out into the country every few days and maybe find a roadside stall selling fresh produce but the urban sprawl is so big now one would be travelling miles to find such a thing, if such a think even existed still.

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    1. Hari OM
      Thanks for joining the conversation Mimsie! You hit a couple of good points here which will actually be addressed in upcoming post in the series; the main thing is we are 'trapped' by the shopping culture of our times but actually we are also trapped by having become accustomed to fruit out of season and 'choices' from exotica. Whilst there is much to appreciate about such choice, it is truly a phenomenon of the last half century and it has actually done us no favours, in terms of health - or, indeed, wealth... that going mainly to the Biggies. Yxx

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  8. You are right, YAM, this relates to all of us. What I love about our Perth, is that we have many local farms and farmers. We're not vegans, hubby doesn't like meat, though. He used to have to kill the chickens on his childhood farm. His grandpa was a great farmer, but they subsisted sans electricity and running water in the 1950s.
    With his cancer issues, we are trying to be balanced, he needs his minerals. We buy locovore. Our Perth farmers raise meat and veggies, all purporting to be organic. This makes me feel better about it.
    This does relate to the book.
    To go further, our big box grocery stores fail to buy local, although they could, because they need to do one-stop shopping and need large farms to provide food for all of their outlets. It's a terrible situation.
    We have a local store, which has such. It's not a chain, but a local family. It is wonderful. back to the good, old days! I fear for the following generations. I've been teaching these principles for years, especially in the 80s.
    Wonderful post. I get it! You are right! xx

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    1. Hari OM
      G'day Jenn and thank you for your addition to the conversation. It is good to read that you have a number of 'indpendents' in your area. There is certainly something of a resurgence, but beating the Biggies is a major thing. As you comment (and as witnessed by the first of the vid links I have posted here) it is not that aware folk have not understood the threat of modern farming practices for quite some time now... but clearly the money and the power (as has ever been the case in human history) spreads its damage...

      Thanks again for your contribution! Yxx

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  9. We can see that this post is generating a lot of comments! Our mom grew up on a small family farm so she was very used to delicious, natural food. But oh how things have changed with mass production! The more we are aware of our food source the better!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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    1. Hari OM
      Oh yes Murphy, tell mum I'sa country lass too!!! ...and even when my immediate family had to move on from the country, home-grown produce has always been the way - but sadly I do not have the facility for that where I am now. Thank you for chiming in.... it is gratifying that this is touching some hearts!!! Yxx

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  10. We also are living in a rural community of small farmers...we are also lucky enough that they can grow all year round in our temperate climate. This gives our family the opportunity to buy and eat local veggies (and meat) all year round.

    What a wonderful, well thought out and informative post!

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    1. Hari OM
      Thank you Beth...(and Dory &*>)

      As I said in an earlier comment, I am conscious that most readers here are aware of the sorts of issues we face within each nation and globally. We have gotten ourselves into such a rut. All power to those local farmers and producers who are finding their market in what can be a harsh eco-climate... Yxx

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