HEART OF STEELE
Remember the last thing you ate?
I just finished a delicious rib sandwich–a fast food staple for me, because on Fridays, it’s just easier to grab lunch on the go. And what’s not to love about a molded pork patty smothered in barbecue sauce?
On this particular Friday, though, I was also part of the team finalizing our Fall Harvest tab, a special section devoted to the rural side of our coverage area. It got me thinking about my overly processed lunch and how it contributes to the ever-growing gap between farmers and the millions of people they feed every day.
Consider the ingredients in my sandwich, which I quickly found listed at fastfoodnutrition.com. (Now, there’s an oxymoron.)
Skipping right over all the information about calories, calories from fat, saturated fat, and sugar, I scrolled down to a list of ingredients that I won’t share here, because we don’t have the space and you don’t have the time. You’ll probably find a similar list for thousands of ready-to-eat items.
I’m not here to condemn any food; nothing good comes from that. I do think, though, that consuming any processed food makes it easier to forget the people at the far end of the process.
Hold a head of lettuce or an onion in your hand, and it’s easy to see both came from the soil. One of our local grocery stores displayed several giant kohlrabi plants last week–easy to see those weren’t created in a factory.
But when lettuce is one of 107 ingredients that go into your fast-food burger, it’s a little tougher to remember the farmer who grew it.
In our 2023 Fall Harvest tab, you’ll read about the Martin family who are turning a profit and feeding their neighbors with a 5-acre vegetable garden in Mower County. There’s an article about a Triton graduate who grows a new “eco-friendly” crop on his Nicollet County farm. You’ll read about how drought is affecting local crops, and there’s a story about a third-generation farmer in the swine business.
As you leaf through the pages, remember that we owe everything we eat–processed or not–to the efforts of hard-working farmers, who put their hearts and souls into feeding our nation and the world.