“Use of chemical pesticides per hectare in China is almost three-folds greater than in developed countries” – Neurological Effects of Pesticide Use among Farmers in China, Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Apr.
Unsettling isn’t it? Unfortunately, scary facts like the one above are a dime a dozen in China, and after a while, it’s easy for the mind to blur those disturbing figures into background noise. Shocking stats better serve as social media fodder or marketing hooks than genuine calls to action or inquiry. Read. Gasp. Share. Move on. This is very true of issues long-term in nature, and especially true of problems we can’t see…like pesticides.
But shouldn’t we pay better attention to what we put in our bodies? Why are we so comfortable with not really knowing our food and how it affects our bodies? …Our families? …The environment? Are buzzwords like “healthy,” “organic” or “sustainable” good enough at face value to earn our trust? Food fuels our brains and our bodies. It is one of the most essential elements in determining our general wellbeing. Perhaps we should be more scrutinizing in choosing what we eat.
Let’s take a look at pesticides. The problem of pesticide misuse is vast and difficult to comprehend. A simplified snapshot of the situation shows that pesticides in China are 1) toxic, 2) overused and 3) difficult to regulate. As a result, we are confronted daily by harmful chemicals that end up on our plate and are invisible to sight, smell and taste.
Why are pesticides overused in China?
Overuse of pesticides in China is largely an issue of education. There is a general misconception among farmers that pesticide input and crop output have a positive linear relationship (more pesticides = more crops). The same belief extends to chemical fertilizers. However, this is simply not true. At a certain point all pesticide use leads to is an increase in pollution, not yield, which is harmful to public health and the environment.
To be fair, this is not often due to negligence or ill intent on the farmer’s part. Part of the reason is because no alternative model has been presented to reverse the harm being done. It’s also because we, the consumer, have not sufficiently raised the alarm. It’s no secret that our land is eroding and that exposure to agricultural chemicals is linked to neurotoxicity in humans. These two problems just happen to be long-term and out-of-sight, and therefore easy to overlook.
At Hunter Gatherer we’re making every effort to tackle the whole issue and to bring the safest, most delicious food to you and your family. This is what we mean by seed-to-table. We do the growing, harvesting, sourcing, and cooking, because we believe it’s the right thing to do. And we hope to show other farmers and restaurants in our community that it is possible, in hopes that they will follow suit. We’re here to Grow the Pie, to encourage positive change. We hope to raise the bar and make our customers demand more from the industry, and more from us. And we want others to compete with us in doing the same.
The best thing we can all do is to ask the difficult questions. Let’s share behavior, not statistics. Change is both top-down and bottom-up. If we all start demanding safer, chemical-free food, it will happen. Join us and Celebrate Real Food.
Celebrate Real Food.