No Bugs for Dinner Please!

Today, I read an AWESOME article by Holly Spangler over at Prairie Farmer. It had several anecdotal stories about the disconnect between HOW our food is produced and HOW we expect it to look and taste.

After reading it I though about this picture:

corn ear worm munching on some sweet corn

Yes, I squealed too.

Jared and I were busy shucking sweet corn and field corn (I’m not a fan of the sweet kind. Yes, my Midwestern friends have told me this is weird.) when I came across this little corn ear worm.

I didn’t throw the ear away just because it had a little worm on it. I watched him munch on a kernel for a little while then calmly cut the offensive end of the ear off, leaving it on the ground the for little guy to munch on another day. Thinking back on that after reading the article I realized that I wouldn’t have responded that way if I had of purchased the corn from the grocery store instead of getting it from a kindly neighbor. I would have probably still squealed, but would have been more selective about which grocery store I bought corn at next time.

There is a disconnect between what consumers (even those like me in ag) want and how they have to get it, especially if they are interested in certified organic. By design, food raised organically is going to have more insect pressure. It’s the cost you pay for more “natural” food. And even in the conventional sector there are still bugs. (Trust me, I had an enormous grasshopper jump on me in the cotton field today!) So how do we bridge the gap?

Well, I don’t have the answer but over the past semester teaching elementary age students, I have tried to answer their questions and get them thinking about agriculture. Bug stung peas, corn ear worms and critters munching on things in my grandma’s garden were just part of my life as a child. We worked and washed around them. I have tried (and will still be trying) to help my students understand the ecological balance that exists between humans, insects and the plants we both love to eat. It may not make a huge impact on how people in the U.S. view agriculture and food, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

What about you? How are you working in your community to bridge the gap between those several generations removed from the farm and the agriculture industry?

By the way, if you want another awesome blog post on corn and awesome technology check out Wag’n Tales’s post!

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About Jillian

Hey y'all! I'm a Florida farm girl in love with an Alabama farmer. I enjoy playing basketball, writing poetry and watching Auburn football. War Eagle!
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3 Responses to No Bugs for Dinner Please!

  1. Elizabeth says:

    This is a great and thoughtful post! You bring up some excellent points and really made me think about the disconnect between how food looks produced and how it looks in the store!

    • Jillian says:

      Glad it made you think!

      Funny story: Prior to shucking the corn, I asked my husband if we should leave it out on the tailgate all afternoon or put it in the fridge until we could get it cleaned. He laughed and said, “Well, seeing as it grows outside in the hot sun anyways, I don’t think a few more hours on the tailgate will hurt.” As soon as it became a consumable product in my mind, I wanted it inside out of the elements.

      So even THIS farmer’s wife can be disconnected! :)

      • Elizabeth says:

        One night I was peeling potatoes and there was a dark spot in the middle – my husband was worried when I didn’t throw it out. I just trimmed around it and used the rest of the potato! And he is a farm boy too! We are all so worried about food safety and such that we forget that somethings/practices are perfectly alright. We are all guilty of that!

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