Industrialized Pizza for Kids

Joined Aug 11, 2000
Politics, how did I get from the kitchen and farms into politics????? I never wanted to hang out with politicians bleck....
So let's hear from you guys. Univeristy of Mo. and a RD in extension has a Pizza motif that features "where your food comes from" in the pizza...pepperoni from a CAFO (contained animal feeding operation), cheese from an industrial dairy, tomatoes from a row crop farm, wheat other words they are teaching children that our food is processed and mass grown. Whoa! And they want $127,000 to build this pizza. There are many schools that are putting in their own gardens...even one university. There are many urban groups working together to get local healthy food into schools. But our state is promoting and supporting with taxpayer funding large farms that are creating pollutants,sending money out of the state and creating a major education problem with small towns absorbing ESL students that migrate in with the workers.
I never trully realized how the gov't effects our food system, they really can open a marketplace or shut it down....just by decisions made by a few people....
So, the reality I chose to envision is a revitalization of farms selling produce and products in their local vicintity. Schools that have a whole child in mind...when they teach nutrition and health they also feed the kids using fresh wholesome products (and rice crispy treats are NOT a nutritious breakfast thank you very much).
The arguement I consistently hear is "we need industrial farms to feed the world"....I don't believe it.....USDA says there is a 30% waste of food (rotting, not used in time, etc). So what do you think???
Joined May 6, 2001
Small farms make a big difference. My grandparents were farmers. They grew tomatoes, corn, potatoes, bell pepper, okra, green beans, strawberries, rapberries, blackberries, apples, and herbs. Organically. They sold (my grandmother still does on a much smaller scale) locally. Mostly individuals, but some local restaurants as well. There are people all over central Illinois who know of them and the quality of their produce. They defintely had an impact on local comerce.

I have to agree with your opinion on the schools. They teach nutrition and then serve lunches with little to no nutrional value. To save money? If the food is thrown out by the kids because it's too gross to eat are you saving anything?

[ August 10, 2001: Message edited by: Svadhisthana ]
Joined Apr 30, 2001
My parents live in southern Missouri where there is a lot of corporate chicken farming. Mom tells me that they are told that 25% of the chickens die in transit to the slaughterhouse. Seems to me that corporate farming has increased our waste of resources and decreased the humane treatment of animals.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Yep~ I talked to a radio host this am and she said they live 1/2 mile from a CAFO and there was a mountain of hog carcasses on the edge of the farm....What is happening is there are 3 counties that are allowed to have corporations own land for CAFOS> now they have subcontracted out in other counties with individual farmers that then choose to bear the liability. I really don't understand how it is ok to debeak a chicken or have pigs in their own waste never being outside...radical maybe, but I still believe it's not a healthy way to live.
Many think that the gov't is watching our interests....Are these our interests?
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Cus if you put a whole lotta chickens in a tiny little space, sleep deprive them; they start pecking their neighbors to death so you debeak um problem solved right? Past gross if you ask me....into inhumane, cruel, vile, disgusting, etc. Processers have fed chickens all kinda remains for a long time too...chickens are omnivores....I've learned things I really did not wanna know, I can't turn a blind eye now...
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Well Shroomgirl, you do us all the service of educating us. I just don't know about these issues unless someone like you awakens me to the issues. Have you ever attempted to work with any of the t.v. news or even the prime time type of shows to get these issues out before the people? If more people knew about these issues there might be some help to prevent out right cruelity....?

How else can you teach us "city" folks whats happening?
Joined Dec 8, 1999
W. DeBord has a great idea. Why not use the same sensationalistic media that came up with the expose' "When chefs attack" show a while back and use them to further our own means?
Joined Jan 26, 2001
Well, Shroomgirl, at least you aren't running after you find out the truth. I applaud your honesty to yourself at not being able to sweep it back under the rug we know as the FDA.

Maybe amidst all of us, a solution can begin! Small farming is one, what else? It sounds like there is more than one issue- waste is a big one, nutritional food in schools, and natural treatment of agriculture and animal items. No big task. I think you are a good one to start with the push for small farms, given your current situation. Do farmers markets overlap with the school year? Do I smell a field trip?!?

Joined Aug 11, 2000
This is the way the game is played...Large corporations need only a razor thin profit margin when they are producing en mass.
They either build a Factory Farm or subcontract it out to farmers willing to raise mass quantities of product.
A reliable source told me that pork check-off monies (a% from every pig sold for marketing)was spent on research and marketing for industrial rallied which is really not in their nature, a law suit was one and then our current administration came in and Ann Venemin (sp?)
US director of AG stepped in and got the check offs is back in court. So to clarify, Massive pig farms only need to make $1 per pig of profit....small guys cannot survive on that....Marketing money gotten from every pig farmer is spent on large farm projects not on opening up markets for small farmers. Since BSE hit Europe rendering from processors has been a problem....they used to sell it for animal feed and now that is out. So small processors are having trouble disposing of waste.
When Land Grant Colleges were set up they were supposed to support all types of farming. When you go to a farm seminar or convention the sponsors/exhibitors are chem guys...they speak as the knowledgable source, they come off as "trend setters".
This is what the majority of farmers hear.
Universities for the lst 20 + years have told aggies "get big or get out". Most of my guys farm 3-5 acres intensely and make a living. Other grain farmers that are organic sell their grain before they plant....those that aren't may sit on their crop.
False $....the real cost of food is weird...
when the US gov't bails out farmers with monthly checks...or paying for commodity products for distribution to low income folk (cheese, honey, etc) or pay farmers not to farm areas or pay to clean up after poor environmental practices. The guys that don't pollute, that create a life friendly environment, that raise beautiful diverse food are left high and dry when it comes to research (no chem companies to fund it privately or on universities so it's not happening), No extension agents to train farmers in how to switch to organics, no ready market to sell to (they have to search them out)....
So it's a systemic theme and it's been going on for a while.
So I see a need to open up the market and make it a viable one for family farmers...not just a farmer's market but wholesaling or CSA.
I wanna see curriculum in schools be healthy and wholistic (think of the whole child)...gardens in schools, fresh foods, nutrition being taught with this in mind,(I have posted about our 4 part school series with a field trip to a farm at the end)
....I'll be taking folks to lunch in schools...those that make decisions ought to be aware of what they ae deciding.
Universities really teaching and setting up sustainable/organic research plots.
*At the present if you choose to be organic you need to pay significantly for the right to say so....I'd like to see a chem tax pay to supliment organic certification.
Markets...they can be influenced by the gov't dramatically....When chefs start talking about how much they spend on food and what they want....folks start listening.
There is a Beef thread above, it is a good example of small farmers having to create a market for themselves and "work it" your food is much bigger than just raising it.
So, your senators and legislators need to hear what you want...they work for elected them to represent your needs. It's very easy to not be involved politically. I was for years. But to make a broader impact it will take working with the legislators and Dept of Ag. They influence the marketplace greatly, and frankly I don't like what I've been seeing.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
I just finished the final public hearing yesterday at the State Fair. In these hearings the public gets to talk to a panel with the rest of the members in the audience listening. Each speaker gets 3 minutes to air his comments on what the Dept of Ag should do for Mo agriculture. Marketing for small farmers is a consistant thread.
If you wanna work with farmers search them out...unheard of in the cooking world....go looking for suppliers???!!! "Man, they come to me and generally more than I need and generally bearing gifts. I've been to shows and promotions sponsored by brokers."
So to keep varietals and local foods available it may take calling your state Dept of Ag and asking who the farmers are in your area, most have a list. Also realize that you may have to ask more than one person, buerocracy is not a finely tuned functioning entity, most of the time it takes a few calls to find competant help.
So once you get your list of farmers usually broken down in commodities,teach the farmers what you want, how you want it delivered, work with them on a quick pay (really important to these guys)....

Talk to your ala maters about using local fresh organic produce....that is uptmost important. Teach college kids how to use fresh foods, how to make charcuterie, the difference in food costs vs labor....but they have to learn how to deal with farmers and fresh products from their area.

The more you talk the more people will understand it matters to you and will try to meet that market demand.

I'm around to answer's an overhaul from the "norm", it is a huge undertaking, there are several with similar minds in my community I'm sure they are in yours also.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Wow! I have to admit you have so much infomation and knowledge that I really can't keep up and understand all that you write about. You've touched on so many topics and they all sound important and I do want to understand and do my part.....but I must admit my mouth is hanging open and I don't follow you as well as I wish.

Could you break things down a little simplier? What can I do, I understand contact my representatives, but I don't understand enough to make sound, yet...can you help me understand better?

Maybe explain one simple problem, the cause, the effect and how I can work to help.?? I got lost with so many topics, sorry. I see how impassioned you are and I know your saying some things that are very important, but I'm a slower than you. Help?
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Most of you volunteer in some way in your community....think about teaching a class at your farmer's market or giving tours or having a Farmer dinner. Or just listing the farms on your menu. That is making people aware you care and buy from farmers.

Meat....meat is now being raised in confinement facilities and don't touch the ground... that's why it is cheap. Antibiotics and hormones are used cus there are so many critters in such a tight space.
So you can support independant farmers or companies that treat their animals humanely and don't drug um. Tell legislators that farmers need a help marketing their food.

Schools are generally serving bleck. If you don't believe me go hang out in a cafeteria. Shoot visit a few. Now, it is not an insurmountable feat to change school food into fresh nutritious meals. It will take work but it's worth it. The decline in school food has been happening for 25-30 years.... I remember fresh breads when I was little, though stewed prunes were on the menu way too many times. So just saying you care. Look at ways to teach cooking classes in schools. Field trips to cool farms. Talk to your PTA, School Board and tell them how you feel about using fresh food. Ask legislators to give an incentive for using small farm foods. When the kids sell bleck see if they can't sell local products (nuts, fruits etc) When you donate food to events label it with the farm name.
Are you Universities supporting sustainable ag research? Is there land being used to organic plantings?
Yeah there is alot going on....ask more questions. I'll try to gear the answer appropriately....massive quantities of's accumulated over several years.
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