Besides learning that I'm kind of homesick for Iowa, but kind of not, I learned that basically, many of the environmental, economic/labor, and health issues are the fault of soda, or as I would have said in Iowa, "pop." I also learned that the problem is huge and involves lots of money, so it's not going to go away any time soon. Farmers are subsidized to grow more and more and more corn every year, so there's always a surplus, which means that they can make corn syrup really cheaply, and Pepsi and Coke can make tons of money. Oh, and we all get diabetes. Oops.
In addition, because all that cheap corn is lying around, we can fatten cows up really quickly and thoroughly (by keeping them in confinement feedlots and feeding them corn all the time), and it makes really fatty meat. Plus it produces soooo much waste. The feedlot in King Corn produced as much wasate as a city of 1.7 million people. Isn't methane from farm animal manure contributing to global warming, too? I think Al Gore told me that.
I have really been trying to stop drinking soda for health reasons, but now I think it's kind of an ethical issue. I don't want to give them my money any more. It just feeds the corn machine. Completely by coincidence, when I was in Whole Foods today, they were giving samples of Snowville Creamery Milk, which comes from grass-fed cows in Ohio. It's non-homogenized (meaning the cream still rises to the top), pasteurized at lower temperatures, and bottled on the farm then shipped to grocery stores the same day. It tasted really, really good, kind of creamier than the milk I usually get (which is already organic and all that, but not grass fed. I got some for Daphne. $3.19 a gallon... I don't think that's that much more expensive than other milk, is it? I'm also going to shop at my local farmer's market more--I got some apples from there last week, and they were like, 100 times better than ones from the grocery store, so I actually ate a few apples this week. Only had cafeteria pizza twice this week. Maybe by next semester I'll be writing, "I am hungry, so I will eat grass-fed organic beef."
Anyway, I'm going with grass-fed meat and milk from now on, and a complete moratorium on soda. If I find I can't afford as much meat, I'll just eat more veggies. I will do a grass-fed meat recipe this weekend and report here what it was like. (My parents had some grass-fed beef recently and they said they definitely could tell the difference... unfortunately, it's the fat in beef that makes it tasty (not the big chunks, but the tiny flecks in the grain of the meat itself), so it probably won't be as good, or as tender, unless i get dry-aged... but then we're looking at $20+ per pound, easy.