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Food and Pandemics

Food and Pandemics

1 Feb 2022

In a White Paper published by the Humane Society in September 2020 (link at bottom of post) it was proposed that there is a clear link between global pandemics and modern food production.

Despite what you may believe about viruses, pandemics or public health measures we can be sure that the rapid movement of people and animals around the globe coupled with increased incursions into wildlife habitats by ever increasing human populations and intensive animal farming methods have led to the perfect conditions for the transmission of pathogens throughout the world. Not to menton genetic engineering, chemical manipulation of food and ethically and morally dodgy experimentation done around the world on a daily basis. 

We have been led to believe that organic (and also local, sustainable and natural) food is the luxury of a privileged few, that it is expensive, unnecessary impractical for feeding the world and probably a bit of a con. That conventional farming is good for poor people and is somehow better because more is good. Here’s a question for you and be honest, do you need more food? Really? Most of the people I speak to as a coach want to loose weight. So what gives? The people that really benefit from mass produced food aren’t the farmers, most of them are dirt poor. It’s not you or I in the affluent west with all our first world problems like childhood obesity, diabetes, declining fertility rates and cancer. The ones benefiting from this are the big food producers. The same people that spend billions annually on marketing and lobbying in order to keep us buying their products all the while ignoring the damage done to our own health and to the planet.

So perhaps then the problem isn’t wearing a mask or having to lockdown the planet or even the perceived need to vaccinate everyone. The problem has its roots in the way in which we produce and transport our food. Again this comes down to the choices we make. If we buy more locally produced, sustainable, nutritious food we will be healthier and therefore in a better position to combat disease and much less likely to to encounter dangerous pathogens in the first place. Win win.

Look at it another way. What is ultimately more costly, altering our food choices and becoming more aware of how individual actions have global consequences or having to lock down the world?

I used to work as a lorry driver for a food wholesale and distribution company that supplied schools, colleges, restaurants, pubs and various other businesses. I quit because I no longer wanted to be part of the problem. We supplied cheap fish and meat from countries like Thailand and China where food and animal welfare standards are much lower to institutions such as Oxford University and children’s schools, food that would have been airfreighted around the world, and transported in big polluting lorries because it was more profitable than supplying locally produced food. A good friend who is a chef at one of the university colleges tells me that they throw away vast amounts of food on a daily basis. This is madness, and that’s not the half of it. At the depot the amount of wastage was astronomical, tons of food thrown away before it even got to the consumer.

As CHEK coaches and practitioners we understand that the personal choices we make affect the whole planet. Health, true health is global in scale, it is about the soil, the sea, the air we breath, the interactions we have with each other, it is about our relationship with our deeper selves and the world around us.

This global pandemic is less about vaccines and lockdowns than it is about what you put in your shopping basket. As always, choose love.