It hit me this morning when I opened up a box of Cheerios and read the label. The label listed all the ingredients from maiz integral (corn) through arroz (rice) to salvado de maiz (corn bran), and aciete de arroz (corn oil). Ok, there are twenty other ingredients but I selected those that popped out at me, considering that I’m reading (actually listening to) an The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of 4 Meals by Michael Pollan. Krista borrowed the “Book on CDs” from the Denver library and we downloaded the entire book to my ipod. It has been an interesting book, one you really should read if you want to know why you’re eating corn at every meal.
The best way to summarize the book is through this box of cereal. The cereal was distributed by Nestle Foods, a partner with General Mills in Mexico, with offices in Mexico City. With both as major US companies, I’m sure that the major ingredients for this, that being corn, came from a farm in the mid-west. Mike Pollan visits the farm of George Nalin in his book, where we learn that corn as a commodity is heavily subsidized by the US Government. I knew of this, but not the degree that it affects the industrial food system. So the corn grown in the Midwest, subsidized by my tax dollars, was processed by General Mills to extract the ingredients that were shipped to Mexico to make the cereal that I bought in a 375 gram box for 36 pesos ($2.57). What happens along this food chain, so to speak, is a tremendous amount of cheap oil and water. And profits for General Mills and Nestle - farmers sell corn for less than it costs them to grow it, all thanks to the Nixon administration’s reversal of a FDR policy as part of the new deal. What this policy has done is caused farmers to grow more corn – it’s the only way to make money, by lowering the cost to grow corn. This has created such a surplus of corn that we process to replace sugar (as high fructose corn syrup), use it in our gas tanks (as ethanol), feed it to cattle to fatten them (with assistance from antibiotics), and export it to Mexico as part of NAFTA. What the price I paid for the box of cereal doesn’t include is the environmental cost (for petroleum from the Middle East, water from the Ogalla aquifer, air pollution from harvesting, processing, and transport), nor does it include the social cost for the displaced corn farmer here in Mexico. For more information on that, read the blog of two guys cycling through Mexico to Paraguay.
Gypsies at heart, we’ve packed up our Colfax Avenue apartment, left our jobs & said our goodbyes with hopes of making a difference in the lives of many as well as our own. Share in our adventure as we uproot ourselves from the mile high city & road trip through Mexico, on our way to a new home & new way of life in Guatemala. UPDATE: After 2 amazing years of living and loving in Latin America this family of three is learning the art of settling down in Charlotte, NC where we purchased our first fixer home. Stay turned to follow our adventures of a different sort - exploring another totally new culture (the South!) & DIYing the heck out of our home!
"It's not having what you want, It's wanting what you've got." -Sheryl Crow
Stops Along Our Way
USA Denver Las Vegas San Diego Chula Vista Los Angeles Nogales Tucson Phoenix Pagosa Springs Denver Memphis Nashville Asheville Charlotte
Baja, California Tijuana Ensenada Cataviña Bahía de Los Angeles Guerrero Negro San Ignacio Santa Rosalía Mulegé Bahía Concepcion Loreto La Paz Todos Santos Cabo San Lucas San Jose Del Cabo Cabo Pulma Los Barriles
Mexico Topolobompo Los Mochis Mazatlán San Blas Chacala Sayulita Puerto Vallarta Melaque Barra de Navidad Manzanillo Michoacán Coast Playa Azul Troncones Zihuatanejo Ixtapa Pie De La Cuesta Acapulco Pinotepa Nacional Puerto Escondido Oaxaca City Teotitlán del Valle San Bartolo Coyotepec Playa Azul Tehuantepec El Aguacero Tuxtla Gutiérrez Chiapa del Corzo Cañón Sumidero San Cristóbal de Las Casas San Juan Chemula San Lorenzo Zinacantán Cascadas El Chiflón Agua Azul Villahermosa Palenque Veracruz Xalapa Coatepec Puebla Cholula San Juan Teotihuacán Mexico City Querétaro San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato Guadalajara Tlaquepaque Tonolá Sayulita Mazatlán Guaymas Nogales Guatemala Huehuetenango Salcajá Totonicapan Quetzaltenango (Xela) Antigua Guatemala City Monterrico Sololá Lago Atitlán Panajachel San Marcos La Laguna Santa Cruz La Laguna San Juan La Laguna Santiago San Pedro La Laguna San Antonio Palopo Jaibalito Chichicastenango Coban Semuc Champey Flores Tikal Rio Dulce Livingston San Marcos Tejutla Puerto Barrios Ciudad Hildalgo Honduras Copan Ruinas Roatán Tela La Ceiba
El Salvador Playa El Tunco La Libertad San Salvador Suchitoto
We love that you are sharing in our adventures, but please don´t judge or steal the contents of this blog. It´s our experiences, perceptions and thoughts of Latin America (& now the South too). Come get your own!