People Often Eat Unhealthy Foods Because They Have To, Not Because They Want To

It's not about the preferences, it's about the access. Luckily, access is something that can be fixed.

Quick fact check: ADHD has not been proven to be diet-related, but Clinical Pediatrics suggests that there may be a connection between dietary sensitivities and ADHD symptoms.

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Fast food has become a staple of the American diet for generations. The industrialization of this country has made the need for processed foods a lifestyle rather than an option; so much so that we have lost sight of what real food actually is. What are we eating? What are we putting into our body and why don't we care?

I'm eating pizza.


Why am I eating pizza? It was convenient, it was right there. It was within walking distance to go get so I just went to go get it. When I work I'm on a schedule so I could only have an hour to get lunch then like you have to wait in line and everything and I don't feel like there's a, like if I was to go out and try to get something there's not a lot of places where I could just go and quickly get something healthy. I feel like in the long run it would extend my lifespan but at the same time I feel like there's a lot of things for that case would apply and most people just be like 'yeah you're right' and then you know you'll say you'll do it eventually.

I think what it comes down to is you just become comfortable with your way of living or like your lifestyle with like most things you just become comfortable and it's just something that you know it's like oh I said I like learning all this new stuff and like having the hassle of like changing it up, it's just more comfortable just to do what you've been doing for like most of your life I feel like.

Yeah you could roast it. I sometimes just put it in a pan with butter and some curry and some adobo and just mix it up, it's really good. Or you can eat them raw, I like them raw. Would you like to try some?

Thankfully there are people in our community who are taking matters into their own hands by producing their own food. We visited Maureen and Druis, two friends who share a garden.

I'm Maureen. I've been gardening my front lawn for about 14 years.

And I'm Druis and I've been gardening this season actively but my mother was a gardener so I used to help her out.

I think gardening influences how I eat because I know what's in it and I know there's no pesticides, I know where the seeds came from.

But it's something that our ancestors used to do and I'm not talking ancient ancestors. When I grew up in Brooklyn everybody had a garden. You know you grew your tomatoes, your okra, your corn, your whatever your staples were and you shared and as a matter of fact we also had chickens in the yard and goats and now it's imperative that we do it for our health.

How long does it take for, do they grow around the same time or do they like grow at different times, like fully develop different times?

Most of the plants will grow at different times. So the lettuce is the first thing to come up so I could put that in the spring and we're going to see it a month later but tomatoes for instance take months before they fruit and so we won't see the fruit until August or early September. So that's the harvest time. We do have raspberries, different kinds of lettuces about four different kinds of lettuces, carrots, broccoli, eggplants, kale, tomatoes, kale, collard greens, beans, oh Swiss chard. That's a lot!

Yeah right! That's what I'm talking about! Doing a little farming up in here.


Yup. It's fun.

Soul Fire farm in Grafton is another example of people reclaiming food production and siding for food justice, this time on a much larger scale.

One of the reasons that we farm is we want healthy food to get to our community so that we could live healthy lives. Like even ADHD and a lot of learning disabilities are diet related and so if we want our people to be able to learn, to live long lives, to be healthy, to be strong, we need good food. And we find that in our communities like where many of you live in the south end of Albany there is much less access to those healthy foods. Here we have the black beans and inside the black beans there's basil. Raise your hand if you helped with the basil. Very nice. And we have kale. Raise your hand if you helped with the kale.

We have probably I think six or seven different varieties of tomatoes. We have all different kinds of lettuce. Broccoli. Where's the broccoli? Right here yup. These are sweet potatoes. We have this huge block right here it's all winter squash and pumpkins. Different kind of kale, broccoli so everything is about the diversity which really mimics nature. If you look at nature, nature never plants all the same thing next to each other. So we use that as a system and really a guide to how we model our farm. One piece of our farm as I'm showing you is our vegetable production, another very central piece of our farm is our meat production.

So we raise chickens for both meat and for eggs and they live out in the pasture. So they're eating fresh grass, they're eating bugs, all of that nutrition is being returned to the eggs. If you go to a factory farm they have one kind of chicken. You will go in there and you will see all white chickens, every one of them in a cage just a little bit bigger than its body. So that chicken basically sits in that cage, cannot move for its whole life. Our chickens, like how many different colors of chickens do we have here? Brown ones, we got black ones, white ones, black and white ones, you know speckled ones, whatever. So still thinking of this way of mimicking nature, mimicking the diversity of nature and trying to really bring that on to the farm as best we can. So yeah come.

So I'll just show you the greenhouse. This is a type of greenhouse called the hoop house or a high tunnel. These are a lot of our seedlings so this is how we start a lot of our vegetables. A little seed that sometimes is so small it just looks like it's about the size of the head of a pencil. So should we make some lunch together? I think that's what's next on our agenda.

Well there's two really benefits of things of growing your own food. I think one like as a person of color and African heritage person it's honoring my ancestors to grow food because my people have been on land and had this indigenous knowledge and were stolen form the land or had the land taken from them and so it's a way of honoring that ancestral wisdom. So that's one reason and then you know another reason that it's important to farm is to eat healthy food and to raise my kids knowing how to grow and eat healthy food because that means we will be smarter and stronger and live longer, healthier lives.

We're really committed to food justice at Soul Fire farm. Our farm has a community supported agriculture or CSA program which means that families subscribe to the farm and make a commitment to pay for their produce for the season and in exchange we give them a box full of vegetables every week during the growing season. So they're shareholders and we deliver our CSA to the neighborhoods that are called food deserts in Albany and Troy so areas that people don't have access to good healthy food and we bring it right to their doorstep.

And we also have youth come out here and teach youth about preparing that food and we share recipes and what we're seeing is that people are eating better, you know. Many of our CSA shareholders will tell us 'you know if it wasn't for that box of vegetables I would just be eating pasta all week because we don't have the money you know to buy healthy, expensive food and by having your CSA box, you know our family can eat vegetables everyday.

The reason people don't eat good food has nothing to do with the preferences, it has to do with access. So we believe that if you get good food and good knowledge in the hands of people they'll eat well. So we definitely see ourselves as part of a larger story of liberation in connection to land.

People in communities across America and throughout the capitol region are finally beginning to reclaim the age old practice of producing their own food. The time is now for all of us to be thinking about this issue and taking steps towards a healthier future.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This video was created by YouthFX. Thumbnail image via Thinkstock.

Jun 25, 2014

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