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What's It Going to Take for Americans to Stop Eating Chemical-Laden Industrial Food?

The simple act of sitting down together to eat real food on a regular basis can jumpstart the kind of lively discussions that get people engaged on the issues of the day.

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LD: Why are we going down this industrial food supply road? I think the answer is money. This is part of what's exciting to me about the new food movement--we have the individual power to opt out of that system. And if we care about our health, if we care about the planet, we're going to have to do that.

But it's doable. And every piece of this, all the solutions to the factory farms, the industrialization of our food supply, and all the chemicals and antibiotics that are in our food, this is completely doable for us as individuals. We have to start cooking at home, again, we have to start buying fresh ingredients, organic if possible, locally, if possible.

We have to reject the trillion-dollar processed-food industry that's taken over our lives. Instead of buying salad dressing at the supermarket with 19 ingredients, we should be taking the three ingredients and the four minutes it takes to make salad dressings at home.

We have to just opt out of that system and start supporting food locally to the best of our ability. It's not about being perfect. "Perfect is the enemy of the good," I totally believe that.

It's about saying, you know what? I can decide for myself how many chemicals I'm putting in my body, how many preservatives. All the repercussions of supporting that system, I can choose to opt out of that, and I can educate my small circle of friends.

You can choose to do better. A perfect example is Meatless Monday. I have a chapter about it in my book, and I make all the arguments you can discuss at the dinner table. You can decide, as a family, we're going to get off this treadmill of eating too much meat. We can't sustain this, it's not healthy for our bodies, it's not healthy for the planet, and it's a big myth that this is the only source of protein we can consume.

You want to help global warming issues? Start eating a little less meat. That's a small but perfect example of how powerful the individual can be. And then educate your friends and family.

KT: Speaking of educating folks, Bill Gates is putting his faith and some of his considerable resources into promoting biotech, agribiz-as-usual solutions for feeding the world. If you happened to cross paths with him, how would you try to persuade him to scrap the GMOs and really get behind regenerative farming methods?

LD: I would ask him, what do you want to eat at the end of the day? What's interesting to me is to find out what people who are part of the industrial/chemical system of growing food are eating themselves. I once ran into a gentleman who worked for a huge tomato company. You know, if you buy tomatoes from Florida off-season, they're picked green and gassed to turn them red. This is a gazillion-dollar industry.

And I said, "Do you eat these tomatoes?" He said, "Oh, I could never eat those! We eat organic food."

I don't understand the arrogance we have as a country that we can do things better than Mother Nature can. We have to go back to being humble, to respecting what Mother Nature provides us, and stop screwing with the system because we think we can do it better.

The oceans are being depleted, the air is being destroyed, because of us. The climate--who ever thought you could screw with the climate? But we're doing it, and it's not an opinion, it's not a theory, it's not a belief, it's a fact. The globe is warming and humans are causing it.

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