Can't Eat Concrete | Teen Ink

Can't Eat Concrete

February 28, 2023
By MGokalpGokcen BRONZE, Avon, Connecticut
MGokalpGokcen BRONZE, Avon, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

February 27th, 2023

Foreword- This Piece comes from the heart… Life as we know it is tied to the natural world, the environment to which humanity has adapted for thousands of years. We were connected to the land and the animals. Bonded together with our food and the way we lived. We have severed it and now we have left nature in heartbreak. We must amend our ties and heal… We’re not talking about moving to the frontier and escaping society, but, it is about reconnecting with our farmers and changing the way we interact with food and the environment in our daily lives.

Food, an integral part of our basic physiological needs as Humans in accordance with Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation, is essential for our lives. Yet, despite this, we are unaware of how much damage we are doing to our health, our towns, and our planet as a whole. When most of us need food, we go to the local supermarket. Park our car, get a grocery cart, and shop from aisle to aisle. Milk. Check. Eggs. Check. Bread. Check. flour, apples, meat, etc. Essentials we never think about the origin of which they hail from, or the impacts they have on our environment, in our State. Now, we must think. Currently, we are in a national shortage of eggs. Eggs are a crucial part of the human diet. They carry various nutrients such as protein, vitamin A, and various antioxidants as stated by the Harvard School of Public Health. Prices are skyrocketing with a net 60% soar of prices as reported by various news outlets. In Connecticut, our fortune casts grim implications as many of you reading can concur. Our state in line with USDA data from 2021 forecasts us, as being the 45th state in net exports of agricultural products, 45th! Only just ahead of Massachusetts. The lack of exports pertaining to farm goods can be explained by a handful of reasons. Just as in Massachusetts, our Land use for the past 75 years has decimated our farms by millions of acres! Farms, bought up to build costly housing, burdening our towns with debt to finance the infrastructure necessary to support the developments in question, whom so happen to utilize car-centric models of urban planning. Natural landscapes present for thousands of years eradicated through the swish of a pen trammeling us with increased greenhouse gasses and concrete-trodden lands, the same issues as stated previously in my work in November- Avon Issues and Old Farms Road. It’s not just past mistakes as well, our misinformed buying habits as consumers have led to the situation at hand. Due to the need to import food from the slashed ability to produce food locally, we buy food from halfway across the country and beyond from far away states like Iowa and California. It is this process that leads to the livelihood of our remaining Farmers to be uncertain.

For the past months, I’ve been speaking to many farmers across the Farmington valley and beyond. In line with most of the reports from our state, making a living on one of the most important pillars of our society- our food, is nearly impossible. For years, many have been operating at a loss. Competition from the large farms out west have been undercutting family farms in New England with their prices and sheer volume, not to mention government subsidization of large monoculture and especially the production of ethanol. Hence, with this in mind many well-known companies often initially operating in the Northeast have often opted in favor of moving west for cheaper produce. I doubt that for the last couple of months, any of us knew the Milk we were buying as organic and local produce, had been slowly coming from around a thousand miles away. It’s the same story with many other products, meat, eggs, you name it. Without the demand for our farms, then it means you probably will see the once- rolling meadows of nature paved over, for good. This food doesn’t come without its own separate implications either. The need to transport “fresh foods” results in high amounts of carbon emissions from the fast transit needed to bring the food without spoiling it to markets in the Northeast. In terms, globally, food miles account for 20% of all food emissions, which is practically 3 billion tons in CO2 equivalent! The aftermath preceding inaction to all of this would be severe, but there is hope.

With the coming of age of new technology in this century, compounded by the ability of the highly educated and determined people of Connecticut I believe we will pull through this fog of uncertainty. Any family can have an impact. Purchasing food from your nearest farm routinely allows you to ensure you did your part in protecting this natural landscape from temperance, and guarantees a cleaner environment beneficial to your health and further posterity. Supporting plans locally to build sustainable and walkable communities leads the torch of hope to a brighter future by ensuring no piece of land is wasted, and lastly taking legislative action into conservation policies and supporting programs for a green future are all in your hands, whether you take the mantle or not, time doesn’t stop and the consequences, will be there.

The author's comments:

For the longest time, I've always had an innate fascination with science and the environment. The piece which I've written covers food and the way many of us interact with it, written from the perspective of the State of Connecticut. It Delves into hard topics such as our irresponsible use of land, to the entire future of farming within New England. This acts as a case study for many states and beyond suffering from the same problems. Thus, I hope many grasp the importance of this writing.

My name is M. Gokalp "Kal" Gokcen, and I am an aspiring young writer, lover of nature, and an advocate for Science

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