CAUGHT IN THE MAIZE
The United States leads the world in production and consumption of processed food. Processed food makes up 70% of an average American’s diet. Corporate farming subsidies have pressured small family farms to lease their land to monoculture farming operations. Corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, and hay account for 90% of harvested acreage in the United States. Huge swaths of the country have been stripped clean of their natural forests and wetlands, paving the way for industrial crop production. America planted over 84 million acres of corn last year, nearly the size of the entire United Kingdom, and 74 million acres of soybeans. These massive biologic monocultures are devastating to soil health, the environment, bees and our waistlines.
This project explores the natural and human cost of our current industrialized food system. Soil structure and quality is so poor that farmers are forced to use chemical fertilizers to encourage production and growth, which in turn disrupts the natural makeup of the soil and contributes to further nutrient depletion. You can travel through hundreds of miles of farmland in this country and a majority of the fields you pass produce food that a human being can’t digest without being processed first. Many working in agriculture are living in food deserts where they leave work and shop at super markets for their staples. Efficiency has come at the cost of our health, with with obesity, diabetes and heart disease at their highest levels in history.