In honor of Halloween here are some creepy facts via this week's newsletter from the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), the nonprofit that has managed the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market since since 1999. (By the way, if you haven't noticed our Ethicurean piggy Sloe's frightening costume, above, hit refresh on your browser.)
Among them, in abridged form:
Haunted houses: Most animals raised for meat, eggs and milk in this country live in cramped conditions on factory farms. They are fed a grain- instead of a grass-based diet, administered hormones, and their overcrowded indoor confinement results in poor physical development, high disease and mortality rates, and overuse of antibiotics.
Industrial Ooze: In addition to the effects on animal health, the feedlot system also has some serious environmental impacts. Concentration of many animals under one roof produces excessive amounts of manure that cannot be recycled on site.
Ghostly farmland: According to the American Farmland Trust, over 120 acres of farmland are being lost to development every hour of every day. Much of this development, as in California’s Central Valley, is covering over prime agricultural soils.
Skeletal soil: Soil in America is being depleted 18 times faster than it is being built up. Industrial agriculture relies on intensive monocultures that deplete the soil of nutrients, while the push to maximize production often prevents farmers from allowing the soil to lie fallow and restore its productivity.
Frankenfoods: Over 70% of processed foods sold in supermarkets contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Trick, or treat?: Big food companies use marketing tactics that make it more and more difficult to know the truth about our food.
The spookiest thing: To most Americans, the origins of our food are a mystery!
But here's what's really bothering me. Does SOLE Halloween candy exist? I think if I were to hand out organic apples in my 'hood, we'd find our house burning down around us. Help!