Choice. It’s fundamental to citizens of developed countries, yet increasingly taken for granted – and threatened. I learned the real value of choice while working with Ukrainians after the communist regime, learning about the control of Egyptian government and seeing the unimaginable poverty of millions in South African squatter camps. When free will is removed from a society and people are collectively forced to bend to the will of “leaders” – choice is no longer an option.
Are our choices being threatened? In today’scultural demand for beingpolitically correct, I believe choice is being threatened. Let’s look at food, which as become a polarizing and highly political issue.Frankly, I don’t care if you’re vegan, a locavore, rooftop gardener, farmer, foodie, organic fan or junk food junkie – as long as you make your decision based upon the facts.Your food isyour choice and I’m not going to judge you for it – the same as I ask of you.I may not agree with your choices, but that doesn’t mean that a robust food system meeting a variety of consumer demands can’t exist.
Marketing and misinformation stand directly in the path of co-existance, which is unfortunate for all of us, but is especiallythe small populationthe people working to produce your food. We live in a society where multi-milliondollaranti-agriculture activist such as HSUS are trying to force legislation removing choices in food animal farms and environmental, biotechnology pundits likeGreenpeace keep food from thestarving and environmentalist groups destroying food production in California.
Farmers should have the right to choose how they manage their operation on one end of the agrifood system, while consumers have the right to a choice at the other end. We don’t all have to agree. We certainly shouldn’t rely on well-funded marketing activist wheels to make the food system generic by pitting organic against conventional farming, large versus small animals against crops.
Shouldn’t our business do a better job of protecting consumers choices – and ours? If we don’t, how far are we going to bend to the will of those who are against feeding the world?