Reading headlines, articles friends share, working in both the private sector of agribusiness as well as the public sector of agriculture policy while being from a 5th generation family farm I have come to claim my space as a food choice mom.
A food choice mom? Does that mean I let my kids choose whatever foods they want to eat? While they might love the idea for a few days, my kids do not eat whatever they want, whenever they want. That’s not being a food choice mom.
A food choice mom is responsible. She takes on feeding her family as an important role. It is not her sole responsibility. Feeding her family may not fall solely on her shoulders. But a food choice mom feels accountability to provide a variety of food choices to her family. Despite hurdles food choice moms may face like budget constraints or limited selection of food at the local grocery store, food choice moms make eating interesting while giving their kids variety in food choices.
Food choice moms fight being busy. Kids schedules, work commitment, volunteer time all get in the way of feeding their families. Food choice moms, at times, cut corners and do the shortcuts for the sake of time. But most of the time, food choice moms choose to make a meal using ingredients they have purchased or even raised or grown to make a meal for their family.
A food choice mom does not pit one food against another food. A food choice mom may choose to support food for cost, for where it comes from, how it is raised but most importantly a food choice celebrates the selection and choices she has.
Therefore, if you want to be an organic mom, you can be. I, as a food choice mom, support your choice. I am an organic mom myself. I support some friends that are organic farmers but most of the time I don’t have organic selection food choices in my small grocery store and I have chosen to not spend the extra food budget to pay for organic for my family. However, if you want to buy organic only food, you can. You can celebrate that food choice.
If you want to be a Monsanto mom, you can be. A Monsanto mom? Yes. Exactly. I am a Monsanto mom myself. Except it really is not solely Monsanto. There are many agriculture biotech companies I support. For some reason Monsanto seems to be the most sensationalized. You can be a DuPont, Dow or Syngenta Mom. These companies have researched traits to put into seeds to increase yields, repel diseases and pests or resist drought. They have developed synthetic pesticides or herbicides that have been rigidly tested for safety. RoundUp is the least of my worries of pesticides when it comes to food safety after talking to researchers who consider it safe. Why am I a Monsanto mom? Because I want farmers to be able to raise more food on the land we have. Mark Lynas, once leading a movement against genetically engineered crops now has apologized and is embracing biotechnology as a method to increase conservation and decrease and potentially end worldwide hunger.
Being a food choice mom also means I am a farmer’s choice mom. Farmers will feed my family. But farmers need to feed a global population that has now exceeded 7 billion people and will continue to grow in our lifetime.
Farmers have choices. I have confidence in biotech choices because I know and understand it better than most I suppose. Not all crops on our farm that my parents own and operate are genetically modified. But I understand technology in seed allows us to do more with less. Less inputs. Less chemicals. Less water. Less overall inputs increases sustainability for our farm to profit and continue for generations.
I know and understand how canola, winter wheat, pinto beans and other crops are raised our GriggsDakota farm and how our farming practices benefit the environment. Benefits often not talked about include increasing soil health by having a cover crop.
Farmers choices gives all of us food choices.
The affluence of our food choices are not my concern. It is the mothers in countries far from me that need me to support agricultural biotech. They want to feed their families like me. Only they are so hungry with no food choices. They need more grains and then protein not only to sustain but to advance.
Those moms, far from me, need food choices. I don’t know their names. They don’t know me. They do not care if their food choices are organic or biotech derived. They need safe, nutritious food. They need farmers far from them to raise it. They also need first world businesses to invest in their countries. They need access to technology to learn to raise their own food. I want those moms, far from me, who struggle to feed their families today to be food choice moms in the future. I want them to have markets of food choices, fields of crops they are raising in soils they previously never could produce food but now can grow food for their families, thanks to businesses, research and technology.
I am a food choice mom. I am not only an organic mom. I am not only a Monsanto mom. I support farmers choices. I support my food choices, your food choices and want all moms of the world to be able to feed their families in the future.
What type of a food purchaser are you?
As a native Californian, I try my best to buy California produce. If not California, then USA. Like you, I feel fortunate to have choices and want both the consumer and the producer to have choices. Isn’t it great to live in America?!
I love to buy local food when I can. I like to bake my own bread and pastries (when time allows) and support the farms and vineyards out on Long Island whenever possible. I try to limit processed foods as well. I do the best I can for my family just by making sure I cook and we sit down together.
Really nicely written! Bravo and I like that you spoke to the biotech issue. Most people on the anti-biotech don’t want to open their minds to the needs of the world! I buy what I can and what I can afford which is usually not organic. It is just too expensive out here in the boonies.
Brandi Buzzard Frobose says
I really love your Food Choice Mom standards – very realistic and supportive of all types of agriculture!
Prairie Mother says
though I’d love to be organic, like you, it’s very tough. I try to be an unprocessed food choice mom. As much as possible I buy fresh, sometimes frozen or canned but VERY RARELY a box mix or anything premade.
I’m not a mom but I am a food choices aunt. 🙂 For years we have been trying to help nieces and nephews understand snacking choices, etc. You can’t hide the crazy number of snack foods from them, but you can help them understand how to make choices. Healthy snacks are more the rule while sugary snacks are more the exception. I love that more places are making it easier to get healthy snacks while traveling too — just last week I bought a little pack of three clementines at the airport. That was way better for me than the Snickers and since it was fresh, they were really yummy too!
I tend to shop at a grocery store but love going to farmers’ markets when I can. I love having faces for some of the foods I eat — it helps remind me there are faces behind all the foods I eat, even if I don’t know someone that produces a specific food.
Working at Monsanto I certainly am a Monsanto aunt but my brother farms his garden organically so I’m an organic aunt too at times.
Aimee @ everydayepistle.com says
Katie, this is excellent! I’m a food choice mom, too 🙂
kaylee@life chasers says
I am so with you on all of this! Definitely worth the intentionality it takes!
I am a bit of everything food choice mama. I try to buy produce from our state, when I can’t do that then from the USA. I grind my wheat berries, bake our bread, cook from scratch, and try to can what we will eat. I am also so thankful I don’t have to be a slave to that and can run through the grocery in a pinch and buy everything I need to feed my brood.
What a great post Katie! I’m not a mom but like Janice I am a food choice aunt! And I guess I am a food choice wife! Oh, and a food choice teacher!
A food choice mom does not pit one food against another food. – I LOVE that line! Too often I hear attacks on a choice but the beauty of living in this great country with so many farms of all sizes and types is choice. I have the choice to buy what is best for my family and they may not be the same as my neighbor’s but I need to respect their choices.
Again, Katie – you are amazing!!
Found this through your school lunch post today – love it! I’m a food choice (new) wife. I buy organic spinach because the package fits well in my refrigerator drawer. I bake cookies from scratch because it reminds me of my mom. I buy produce at WalMart because I’m on a budget. I buy herbs fresh from the farmer’s market because the morning summer sunshine is so lovely. And I buy Doritos because YUM. For me, the key is recognizing that hardly anyone else in the world has the luxury of the food choices I make every week. Grateful for farmers like your family who work hard to provide safe, affordable food for the whole world.
Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] says
I really love this, Katie! Says all that I want to say. We don’t buy organic, it’s too expensive for us, we buy as local as we can but we buy what works for us!