Friday, November 27, 2009

Where Was My Organic Thanksgiving Dinner?

Thanksgiving- a time to sit around the dinner table to be thankful for all the people you have in your life. On my Thanksgiving, I sat with my immediate family- my mother, father, sister and my aunt, uncle and cousin. The meal was a cultural representation of a holiday dedicated to being grateful for the many things we as people do not consider during the rest of the year. Yet the meal I saw in front of me was duplicated onto every table in the United States. There is of course the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, bread rolls, sweet potatoes, and so forth. This the imagery of Thanksgiving. On a holiday when 5.32 million turkeys are ritually killed each year, it is important to understand where these animals come from and how they arrive to many dinner tables in America. I know for a fact that my turkey WAS NOT organic and neither was the majority of meal. We had some Whole Grain crackers an an hors d'oeuvre , but even those did not consist of any organic ingredients. So what does this say about the nation as a whole? On the one day of the year represented by a feast, Americans generally fail to bring organic products onto the Dinner Table. The New York Times Well column recently blogged about the cost of an organic Thanksgiving Day meal compared to a non-organic one. They found you could end up paying nearly 75% more when going all organic! From ivillage. If one has to pay this much more money, then is it really worth it? This page says you have to pay $100 more for an organic Thanksgiving Dinner.

But supposedly organic turkeys are healthier and tastier on this blog here. But Thanksgiving is already an expensive holiday- families are consuming much more than they ordinarily would, so why should people pay even more? Certainly, this blog explains the benefits of eating organic, but when it costs extra money (and a lot more $$) to do so, people usually drop out of the race and still with the industrial produced. So once again, we are back to the problem with organic products- no one I know of is against it, but few want to pay for it or have the money to do so. Hopefully one day when the price can drop to where even those of the lower class can afford organic food can it products be available for the general populace.

I think that if Thanksgiving consisted of organic products, it would be more settling the respectful to the holiday. It's origins are when Squanto taught the pilgrims how to plant crops in the fields of Massachusetts- not with the use of pesticides,GMOs, or fertilizers. The holiday is about mutually respecting the earth so that people of different backgrounds can bond with one anther. When people buy industrially produced products for Thanksgiving, it undermines the ideology of the holiday. But nevertheless, that the ugly truth, that when it comes down to money, people cannot afford the organic products. What does this mean for us as a nation? That generally speaking, we are not ready to make the transformation to organic food. The industrial process is what has allowed the US population to survive, and our dependency to it is not wavering. Of course, there are vegetarians, vegans, and some who took on the organic diet this Thanksgiving, but for the rest of us- our products come from the industrial process. There is a long way to go before an organic Thanksgiving dinner can become more of a reality for us as Americans.

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