Human health has been completely degraded in the last 40 years. We have gone from 4% of the population having chronic disease to over 50%. As a society we have outsourced our food and health to the chemical farming and pharmaceutical industries. As a result, we’ve lost many of the fundamental building blocks of good health. Much of the front-line protection our food and environment have supplied to our bodies for eons has disappeared. Factory farming has depleted much of the intrinsic medicine in our food and all this loss, combined with constant environmental exposure to toxins, has overwhelmed our immune systems.

How did we get here?

 

 

18th – 19th Centuries

  • Unprecedented influxes of people into a new land of hope and prosperity
    • Devastation of traditional food knowledge with displacement of native populations
    • Lack of strategic and sustainable land management
    • Rapid growth of urban centers
    • Rapidly increasing demand for food
  • American agricultural system is developed concurrently with industrial capitalism
    • Mass production technology helps meet demands
    • Chemical additives help meet demand by allowing for increased production, less spoilage during longer transportation to more urban centers, and ultimately, increased profits

20th Century

  • Economic fallout of the Great Depression affects all industries
  • Years of unsustainable farm practice results in devastated soils
  • Onset of decade-long drought sets off the Dust Bowl
  • New Deal policies attempt to balance supply with demand to help farmers
  • Marketing campaigns with a focus on home economics drive demand for industrial food products
  • World War I and World War II
    • Farm workers head to the front lines
    • Green Revolution
      • Government push for war technologies leads to new innovations in many industries, including agriculture
      • Food preservation technology increases shelf life of foods
      • Supermarkets, convenience foods, and bulk shopping become popular
      • Agricultural technology like machinery, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides become the only way to keep production at pace with demand, and is extremely successful, resulting in fewer farm jobs and fewer farmers
    • Penicillin becomes widely available, resulting in overuse of antibiotics as a “cure-all”
  • Counterculture of the 1960s focuses on health
  • Introduction of glyphosate as main ingredient in Roundup*
  • Beginnings of public awareness of nutrition results in industry development of “healthy” and “diet” products

 

Late 20th – Early 21st Century

  • Communication networks allow for rapid increase in public awareness of implications of food sources and quality of available foods
  • Re-established interest in regaining traditional food knowledge
  • New science on the importance of the gut to human health
  • New science on the connection of the gut to the brain and the “intelligence” of internal communication systems
  • Renewed demand for lost knowledge of the importance of connecting with the earth and maintaining balance between the body and the world around us
  • For the first time, in 2018, Monsanto is brought to trial on allegations that it has spent decades hiding the carcinogenic effects of Roundup
  • University of California San Francisco discovers glyphosate in 93% of urine samples collected across the U.S.

 

Into the Future

Finding a way to feed ever-growing populations is still a relatively new problem for humanity. Entire companies, industries, and agencies are devoted to solving this problem and are constantly working towards a solution. Our food system here in the United States emerged as a way to try and solve that problem and has always used the most cutting-edge science to try and achieve that goal. However, we are still trying to understand the impacts of that innovative science on food production and quality. As science continues to develop, society slowly continues to realize how much we don’t know.

There will always be new science emerging to provide insight into the context of human health and how it fits into the overall health of the planet. This will help us as consumers drive our food system towards more sustainable and health-oriented practices. It is vital that we continue to fight for the type and quality of food we want for ourselves and families. As we work towards a more healthful future with better access to quality foods, RESTORE can help defend against the chemical exposures we endure every day.

 

*More About Glyphosate/Roundup

From the US National Library of Medicine:

Since 1974 in the US, over 1.6 billion kilograms of glyphosate active ingredient have been applied, or 19 percent of estimated global use of glyphosate (8.6 billion kilograms). Globally, glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called “Roundup Ready,” genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996. Two-thirds of the total volume of glyphosate applied in the U.S. from 1974 to 2014 has been sprayed in just the last 10 years. The corresponding share globally is 72 %. In 2014, farmers sprayed enough glyphosate to apply ~1.0 kg/ha (0.8 pound/acre) on every hectare of U.S.-cultivated cropland and nearly 0.53 kg/ha (0.47 pounds/acre) on all cropland worldwide.

Genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops now account for about 56 % of global glyphosate use. In the U.S., no pesticide has come remotely close to such intensive and widespread use. This is likely the case globally, but published global pesticide use data are sparse. Glyphosate will likely remain the most widely applied pesticide worldwide for years to come, and interest will grow in quantifying ecological and human health impacts. Accurate, accessible time-series data on glyphosate use will accelerate research progress.

 

References

Ben Champion, K. S. (n.d.). Historical Development of U.S. Food System. Retrieved from Kansas State University.

Benbrook, C. M. (2016, February 2). Trends in Glyphosate Herbicide Use in the United States and Globally. Retrieved from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Food Processing Magazine. (2010, October 5). Food Processing: A History. Retrieved from Food Processing Magazine.

Food System History. (n.d.). Hall of Fame. Retrieved from Food System History.

Food System History. (n.d.). Timeline. Retrieved from Food System History.

Gillam, C. (2018, May 22). Landmark lawsuit claims Monsanto hid cancer danger of weedkiller for decades. Retrieved from The Guardian.

The Detox Project. (2016, November 14). Alarming Levels of Glyphosate Contamination Found in Popular American Foods. Retrieved from The Detox Project.

The Detox Project. (2016, May 25). USCF Presentation Reveals Glyphosate Contamination in People Across America. Retrieved from The Detox Project.

Wessels Living History Farm. (n.d.). Farming & Rural Life in the 1950s & 60s. Retrieved from Wessels Living History Farm.

Wessels Living History Farm. (n.d.). New Deal Farm Laws. Retrieved from Wessels Living History Farm.

Zach Bush, MD. (2017, March 29). A Chemical-Based Food Chain. Retrieved from YouTube.