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Bethany Kamhiriri
Cynthia Hamlett
English 102
May 12, 2015
Truth or Dairy: What We Should Be Consuming
Where do you get your food from? The world of food as we know it is changing and we
can now get food from anywhere. Every city has a fast food establishment on each corner and
giant supermarkets that sell car oil only a few aisles away from the lettuce. Farmers markets used
to be very common throughout the world but there are now more convenient ways for people to
get their food. Big companies like Walmart and Target have started to expand into the food
industry by selling produce that is cheaper to grow and sell. This is causing local farmers to lose
business that goes straight into supporting the community and their families. Also, this
negatively affects those who work gathering the food. Consumers have started to forget what
real food tastes like because the food sold by the large companies are manipulated with
pesticides, hormones, and other harmful elements. Children are also affected by this because of
the food they are given at school and what their parents buy them at home. We need to stop
supporting these big companies and start realizing that our food is important, and that our diets
cannot be determined by convenience.
Over the years, man has created new and efficient ways to get food. From history, we can
determine how our farming methods have changed. We started with the hunting of animals and
the gathering of plants and grains. After medieval ruling, new techniques of farming were
adopted and new produce was introduced. Animals were domesticated and we began to grow our

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own foods. In the 1800s the industrial revolution created more convenient ways for food to be
manufactured and sold. All of these creations were powered by man or animal, versus the gas we
now use to run everything. Before now, everyone relied on farming to survive by growing their
own food or trading it with the people in the neighborhood. Land was also passed down inside
the family to ensure the life of the family business. Everyone specialized in different areas of
farming and the community worked together to keep the market going. There are many different
types of farmers, some being: dairy, fruit, vegetable, and meat. They all offer different products
but they also work well together to make the food we consume. The 1950s is when the market
ultimately changed from local to mass produced. The first supermarkets were made and the
lifestyles of every American changed forever (Bringing the Food). It became easier to buy food
from the general store than to grow it yourself. With the growing demand of food, these stores
changed the way they worked (like switching from local healthy food to the mass produced
products like produce and meat) and faster food production became a priority. It wasnt just the
grocery stores that changed, general stores that sold household items like soap became
supermarkets. In 1962, the first Walmart retail store was opened in Rogers, Arkansas and in the
next 5 years 24 stores were opened, making $12.7 million dollars (Walmart). Over the next two
decades, the famous brand succeeded in making millions more, and in 1988 they opened their
first supercenter combining general merchandise and a full-scale supermarket to provide onestop shopping convenience (Walmart). There is no reason that a growing company shouldnt be
able to expand the things that they sell, but we should be aware of the negative aspects of it. A
typical Walmart store sells everything from food to flat screen televisions. When you enter the
store, you are greeted first by the glowing lights of a McDonalds restaurant and sometimes an
employee. You make your way into the store set on buying the one item you need but you get

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distracted by the advertisements in the middle aisle. The products placed in the center of the
aisles were meant to get your attention so that you would spend more money unnecessarily. What
makes this even worse is that these items are all most unhealthy foods like candy, chips, and
sodas. Those who have no food education would be quick to add them into their carts but that
decision ultimately leads to health problems like diabetes. Organic food made locally is often
consumed fresh and requires little processing. Fresh peas, for example, require only 40 percent
of the energy expended for a frozen carton of peas, and only 25 percent of an aluminum can of
peas(Bringing the Food). Theres also the waste that comes from the plastic and aluminum used
to preserve these vegetables that have been transported across hundreds of miles. The fresh
food found in stores like Walmart are also found among the packaged food in the center of the
store. This isnt even in a labeled Super-Walmart; just a regular store that specializes in
everything but fresh food. The distance needed to travel and buy locally grown food is
inconvenient for a lot of people. Also, the times that farmers markets are open can be hard on the
people who work long hours. Most supermarkets are within walking distance of a lot of homes
and school. I case of a food emergency, Walmart is there to meet your immediate need. The
farmers market (more commonly known as Market Night) is a once a week experience that
meets from 7:00-9:00 every Thursday night. Vendors from around the city of Redlands and
beyond set up their booths to attract buyers of every kind. The main purpose of the night is for
local farmers to sell their products to people who cannot travel miles away to their farms. This is
one way the problem gets fixed but what about the other days? What happens when an average
person runs out of groceries on a day when Market Night is not operating? Here is what we as
consumers need to do to solve this issue: Create our own Walmart. Not the Walmart we know
and love, but our own version of Walmart that meets every one of our needs. A store that is

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convenient to walk to, sells the food that we can trust, and is good to the farmers. The most
important part of the operation is the farmers and their workers. Those who work under the big
supermarkets like Walmart do not get the recognition and payment that they deserve. The more
we support them, the more we support their behavior.
We take the fact that we have enough food to feed ourselves for granted. Some places
have no McDonalds on the corner or a buffet to overeat in weekly. People in other countries
starve themselves just to have enough money to pay their bills or send themselves to school. This
has made its way back to our own country and into our own homes. How? By making the people
who process our food get paid worse than a high school kid working at McDonalds. There are
workers who travel early in the morning and late at night to farms and factories just to make 40
dollars a day at the least (Food Chains). The documentary Food Chains by Sanjay Rawal reveals
the unfair treatment of these people. When the season for picking the fruit and vegetables comes
around, these people and their children live in tiny trailers in the city. The tightly cramped trailers
have very little living space, and they are often shared with other farming families. These people
are being exploited for their labor and are hardly getting paid for any of it. They makes millions
of dollars and hardly see a penny (Food Chains). The supermarket brands in technically in charge
of the farmers and workers have enormous growing power, while they never take on the risks of
having to grow the food. In 2010, Walmart launched a global commitment to sustainable
agriculture, aiming to strengthen local farmers and economies, while providing customers access
to affordable, high-quality food (Walmart). They claimed to have given back to the community,
but workers everywhere are still struggling to live and local farms are shutting down due to a
lack of business. When we shop at stores like Walmart and buy their fresh produce, we are
supporting the exploitation of hardworking laborers. One side never connects to the other

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(Food Chains), this simply means that the workers never meet the business men or women who
sign the papers and collect the money. There are so many levels to producing and selling food,
that one side never interacts with the other but they both need each other. California produces
more food than any other state, which means that the buyers of this food create a pressure to get
even more. If the business people of Walmart decided to close the company, the workers would
be out of labor and if the workers decided to quit and boycott the company, Walmart would just
hire new workers. The fact that the lives and stories of many people are so easily replaced is
astounding. Its not just limited to unfair pay and horrible living conditions. The farms producing
the Walmart groceries use many growth hormones and preservatives that get many of the
workers sick. Spending all day in a field of poison isnt good for anyone, and it takes an extreme
toll on the daily field worker. Getting paid by the bucket you fill makes it harder to make money
when youre sick. It seems as though we are also being affected by these types of fast producing
farms. In the industrial livestock farmhouses, animal waste creates a huge health hazard. Animals
are forced to stand in close proximity to one another and they are fed food that makes their
bodies grow faster than normal. The waste they produce cannot even go back into the land
because there is no land for it to fertilize. These animals are kept in small warehouses and are
given no freedom. Its very similar to the way that the human workers are treated. Health
officials have said that the cause of diseases such as pathogenic E. Coli might be caused by
drinking water contaminated with such wastes (Bringing the Food). Local farmers feed their
livestock the right kind of food that gets recycled back into the land through their wastes. The
battle between this type of meat farming versus the efficient local farmer is what determines the
future of our health and our childrens health. Our children get to eat this food in their schools
every day and they are growing up blind to what it does to them and the people who grow it. The

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sellers of the products have no choice but to agree to the terms of the buyers because of the
monopsony they have. Children are a good solution to this ongoing problem, we just need to
teach them the truth.
One of the many things that affects the way we act is the well-being of children. Every
parent wants what is best for their child and they do almost anything to ensure their happiness.
On a daily basis, a typical child would spend the majority of his or her day at school. A typical
school year is 180 days and 2 food courses are offered to each and every paying student. What is
being served all 180 days contributes to the well-being of the students and the price the parents
have to pay. The two sections of food served daily are breakfast and lunch. Included in the
breakfast section is: fruit, dairy, pancakes/waffles, breakfast meat, potatoes, and other filling
foods. This is a lot of food for one child to eat every morning for their breakfast. They say that
eating food in the morning allows your body to wake up and work the way it should. However,
when the food is so filling, it makes the body shut down and run slower than normal. Not only is
this food bad for cardiovascular health, it is also bad for your body (Fed Up).Lunch is more
complicated because the students have more options to choose from. Pizza, French fries, burgers,
hot dogs, and corn dogs are just a few of the items served weekly in a traditional American
school setting. Everything is served with a side of fruit/vegetable or a sweet snack. Kids have the
option to drink milk at school with their breakfast and lunch, and most do. Two bottles of milk
loaded with flavoring, coloring, and sugar, are considered the healthy amount a child should
consume daily. There is nearly as much sugar in one can of soda as there is in one carton of
school milk, and they drink at least two cartons a day (Ted). One day of milk leads to a week,
month, and then a year. A parent would never let their child physically eat eight tablespoons of
sugar a day, which is what they are ultimately doing by paying for their child to eat at school.

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However, it is not easy for every family in America to start packing their child a lunch. Those
who already do sometimes pack food that can be found in the schools cafeteria. Some kids are
given Lunchables for lunch, which are premade lunches with options for a two-inch cold pizza,
or a stackable Ritz Cracker fake ham and cheese sandwich served with a candy bar or a cookie.
Other kids are given Twinkies and granola bars for their lunches. Why dont parents just pay for
their child to eat the unhealthy food at school, rather than pay a lot more for the same kind of
food? It is unfortunate that children along with their parents have no idea what to eat and where
to get it. The result of this kind of lifestyle is childhood obesity. Kids grow up thinking it is okay
to have pizza every night because it is fast, and they never learn what the potatoes that their fries
are made of look like. Jamie Oliver is a world known British chef that has travelled across the
states teaching our kids about food. He preaches the importance of making sure that kids know
where their food comes from. In one of his Ted Talk presentations, he interviewed elementary
school kids that couldnt distinguish a pea from a potato. In two one-hour sessions, he fixed that
issue and the kids fully understood the importance of knowing what food looks like (Ted). Once
children are taught something new, they immediately tell their parents or siblings what they
learned. All it takes is one child to tell their guardian how important food is, to start the trend
going. Companies everywhere target their products and food toward kids and label them as being
healthy. They believe that kids will eat more fruit if they add a candy dip to it, or they will eat
more chicken nuggets if they are shaped like dinosaurs. Most parents dont give into pleading
children for products like these, but when they have a screaming kid with them it is less likely. It
can also not be very easy for parents to buy organic food every week. In The Poor Get Diabetes,
the Rich get Local and Organic, Mark Winne writes about how low income families have a
desire for eating local and organic, but they just dont have the resources to do so. For the

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elderly, there was the nostalgic association with tastesfor those with young children, there was
an apprehension that nearly everything associated with their external environment, including
food, was a threat (Winne). The elderly people who grew up in the times where food was
always grown locally already feel the change in the way food should taste. You can find tomatoes
in the supermarket all year round, but they arent technically real. Tomatoes grown out of their
season are flavorless and filled with water. Most consumers dont even realize that most food
does not taste like it is supposed to. Parents want what is best for their children, even though that
best isnt available. In the low income areas, it is hard for people to locate fresh food and it is
also difficult to take multiple bus rides to a farmers market. For some of those people, eating
healthy, local food isnt affordable. Even if they could afford the trip out of the city to a farm, the
actual price of the food wouldnt work. One way to start making food accessible in these
neighborhoods is to bring the market to the people (Winne). Not just by opening an organic store
like Trader Joes on every corner, but by integrating that lifestyle into the community. Opening
community gardens can have a very positive effect on the community and the overall beauty of
poor communities. The more people who understand the importance of food growth, the better.
Spending a little extra at the farmers market can change your health in a big way, which is
important to many people. With this new knowledge, kids will hopefully be screaming for carrots
and celery, and adults will understand why. It will not be an instant change, but it has to start
somewhere.
Every day we consume food and it changes the world we live in. The more that we grow,
the more it changes with us. We will always find a way to make food convenient in our busy
lives, it is just up to us to know what is right and wrong. Farmers markets used to be very
common throughout the world but there are now more convenient ways for people to get their

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food. Children are also affected by this because of the food they are given at school and what
their parents buy them at home. Part of the reason why we eat the food we do is because we shop
by what we feel is convenient. We need to start realizing that our food is important, and that our
diets cannot be determined by convenience. We need stores that are convenient to walk to, sell
the food that we can trust, and are good to the farmers. In the words of Chef Jamie Oliver
himself, My wish is for you to help a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about
food, to inspire families to cook again, and to empower people everywhere to fight obesity
(Ted). If change can be made in one place, it will change the world.

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Works Cited

Fed Up. Dir. Stephanie Soechtig. Perf. Katie Couric. Atlas Films. 2014. Film.
Food Chains. Dir. Sonjay Rawal. Perf. Eva Longoria, Eric Schlosser, Forest Whitaker. Screen
Media. 2014. Film.
Gilk, Paul. Bringing the Food Economy Home: Local Alternatives to Global Agribusiness.
UK.Zen Books.2002. Print.
Jamie Olivers TED Prize Wish.TEDTalks: Chew On This. 2011. Video
Experience Walmarts History. Walmart. 7 May 2015. Web.
Winne, Mark. The Poor Get Diabetes, the Rich Get Local and Organic. Language Awareness
Readings for College Writers.10th Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and
Virginia Clark. Boston: Bedford. 2009. 599-603. Print.

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