A prophetic look at food today from the 1970s

A prophetic look at food today from the 1970s comes from a book called Eating in America, a history by Waverly Root and Richard de Rochemont, published in 1976.

The authors talk about the multinational holding corporations and holding companies which owned so many of our food processing supplying companies and were proud of their success.

“But what they are doing is not making food, it is making money.” If there is a conflict between producing food of quality and producing food which makes a profit, it is quality which goes by the board, the authors say.

“It is almost an axiom that (great) profit in business can be achieved only on the large scale. The large scale is what we have.”

It is doubtful that even Root and de Rochemont could foresee just how large scale the food business became as the decades went by. Their words from the 1970s indeed became a prophetic look at food.

“The food merchants want to handle as few different varieties of each kind as they can.” Thus trashing from most human knowledge a substantial portion of the millions of varieties of historical fruits and vegetables.

That is why, if you happen to like eggplant, you will see ONE type in most supermarkets. Looking through an heirloom natural seed catalogue, I counted 55 different varieties of eggplant!

Okay, so you don’t like eggplant. Let’s look at the very popular tomato. You might choose from four different varieties in the supermarket.

The same catalogue listed 200 shapes, sizes and colors of tomato varieties!

The years went by and the ‘chosen’ crops were subjected to chemical alterations to preserve, dye and bleach as they traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to get to the consumers while their natural taste and nutritional value ebbed away.

In 1973, the book records that “some 3,000 additives are now in use.” These include” leavening agents, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, anti-caking agents, coloring materials, 1100 flavoring ingredients and 30 chemical preservatives…..”

Today there are up to 90,000 varieties of additives used, many of them unnamed and health effects unknown.

Fortunately, in the last decade or two, the number of ‘heroes’ in the clean (not GMO), pure SMALL SCALE seed, farm and retail food movement, as well as home gardeners, has been growing exponentially.

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings”—-Masanobu Fukuoka

The book’s last chapter is titled, Where do we go from here?

What do you think? Seventeen years into the 21st century will our prophetic look at food be as dismal for food quality and health as the one from the 1970s?

Or will the heroes of the clean food and nutrients movement prevail?

Source: Eating in America, a History by Waverly Root and Richard de Rochemont