Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Fresno - The Belly of the Beast
Fresno, California: The number one producing agricultural county in the entire U.S. also happens to suffer from some of the highest percentages of obesity and type II diabetes. One out of every three children and 70% of adults in the valley are obese despite the fact that fruits and nuts, vegetables and livestock are the top three products (respectively), that the county grows. The place, the people, the history of food production and the current situation is as much a demonstration of how awry the American food system has become, as much as it has the greatest potential for change. (It ain't the fruit that's causing the weight gain. It's primarily corn syrup and processed foods.) If Fresno can meet more of it's food needs locally instead of exporting all of its' products, if residents can grow more fresh foods and start reversing the detriments of industrial food on human health and land, then other parts of the country stand a chance too. No pressure Fresno. We're all rooting for you!
Thanks to all the great organizations here in Fresno that have invited me to come down, Fresno Metro Ministry and the Fresno Community Garden Coalition. USDA and CCROPP are also sponsors of the first ever, contemporary community gardening conference in Fresno. 'Contemporary' because I reckon that people used to meet all the time to talk about food when gardening was second nature.