Heroes

3 vile myths too many food companies are shoving down our throats. Gross.

You've probably seen ads from food corporations like this before. But do you have any idea what they're really trying to sell you on?

3 vile myths too many food companies are shoving down our throats. Gross.
True
Only Organic - New MacDonald - Q2 2015
<span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span><span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span><span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span>

A growing number of food corporations are spending big bucks to pump out messaging that suggests they're worried about the health of our planet and that we need their help and the help of chemicals to produce the food to sustain it.

Myth #1: We need technology like genetic engineering and pesticides to grow more food.


While using technology to help grow and engineer food sounds like a good idea, the reality is much much worse.

"Getting on board means farmers stop practices that keep soil healthy and go for single crops. Livestock that used to be raised on the farm get crammed into polluting factories. To keep this unnatural system going, these farmers now buy expensive inputs all from ever-fewer corporations demanding ever-rising prices. ... Pests become resistant, so you've got to use more chemicals. Livestock becomes sicker, so you've got to use more drugs. Soil loses its natural fertility, so you've got to use more chemical fertilizer.
***
And the future we're all talking about feeding? The industrial farm requires more fossil fuels, water, and mined minerals. All stuff that will only get more expensive as it runs out. So down the line, the chemical path not only can't only work for farmers, it won't be a choice at all. Corporate agriculture doesn't reliably grow more food in the future or even today."



Myth #2 : Food corporations are working hand in hand with farmers.


"Over the last 50 years millions of farmers have had to sign corporate contracts that dictate their every move or have lost their farms all together."

Many of these corporations want you to believe they're working with farmers to help them sustain healthy family businesses. In reality, farmers and their families are being bullied to buy into corporate-controlled chemical agriculture. Because these corporations have lots of money and government backing on their side, most farmers don't have a choice. They can either play ball, or their farm will fail.

Myth #3: We need to double food production in order to feed the planet by 2050.

Some mega-corporations would like you to believe that without their help and reliance on chemical engineering, our planet is doomed. But that's not actually the truth.

"The sustainable farm is better for farmers and the environment, but can it really feed the world? Study after study is saying yes. Sustainable farms produce as well and, in drought years, even better. This is important news for small farmers, who already grow 70% of the world's food. To increase production, they don't have to follow the chemical path."

It's time we wise up and stop letting these shady corporations scare us into thinking it's their way or no way at all. The truth is, we can feed and sustain our planet without using harmful chemicals or stiffing small farmers and their families.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

Kids say the darnedest things and, if you're a parent, you know that can make for some embarrassing situations. Every parent has had a moment when their child has said something unintentionally inappropriate to a stranger and they prayed they wouldn't take it the wrong way.

Cassie, the mother of 4-year-old Camryn, had one of the those moments when her child yelled, "Black lives matter" to a Black woman at a Colorado Home Depot.

But the awkward interaction quickly turned sweet when the Black woman, Sherri Gonzales, appreciated the comment and thanked the young girl.

Keep Reading Show less
Mozilla
True
Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Most of us don't think of a bird as a cuddly pet, but Swoop the snuggly magpie didn't care what humans think. After he was rescued by New Zealander Matt Owens, the baby bird became a beloved part of the family—the family being Owens and his cat, Mowgli.

"It was just sitting there bleeding, sort of unable to walk properly and it looked like it had been abandoned by its mum so I just picked it up and decided to take it home," Owens told Newshub. The timing of finding Swoop couldn't have been better. Owens' dad had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the bond he formed taking care of Swoop gave Owens an extra dose of love and comfort.

Mowgli wasn't sure about the new family member at first, but soon took to Swoop and the two became fur-feather friends. The Dodo recently shared a video on Facebook highlighting Owens, Swoop, and Mowgli's story, and it's unbelievably adorable.

Keep Reading Show less