Can unnatural foods contribute to illness, even forcing people to rely on pharmaceutical drugs for health stability? That's what Howard Vlieger, president of Verity Farms, said this week as he spoke at the Farm and Food Leadership Conference
inside San Antonio's Pearl Stables. Specifically, Vlieger addressed genetically modified foods and their cyclical damages to both the health of people and the planet. Simply put, GMOs are not any cheaper, or better for the animals they are fed to, or the human beings who consume them; Vlieger even cited specific health problems in animals who are fed GMOs: decreased fertility, digestive issues like ulcers, and infection requiring regular doses of antibiotics.
The Farm and Food Leadership Conference was a draw for any and everyone interested and invested in sustainable, organic, and local (SOL) eats. Nearly 200 attendees gathered to learn from some big names in the real-food movement, including John Ikerd of University of Missouri, Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com
, Patty Lovera of Food and Water Watch, Leslie Provence of Community Food Security Coalition, and many others.
Other hard-hitting topics addressed at the conference included corporate farms (ie: factory farms), food justice, animal ID, raw milk, and the farm bill. The sentiment was clear: factory farms and corporate agriculture are not a lasting structure; in future decades, they will no longer dominate the agricultural system, and will not be able to sustain themselves or the people who rely on them for food.
The over-arching themes of the conference were reform, change, and an end to cheaply made Big Ag food. Trends that have already taken root in the sustainable food world, including grow-your-own, and buy-from-those-who-do, are continuing to be pushed for and pursued. San Antonio can be assured that these trends are here to stay, and the conference was all the more encouragement to start (or continue) buying small and local.
Liz Schau is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who specializes in nutritional changes for women with thyroid disease, food allergies, autoimmunity, and digestive health concerns. You can find her at LizSchau.com.