Among the more typical responses if I ever mention that I’m a vegetarian, is the inevitable question of why. Normally I entertain the question, though I’m usually thinking of how unfair it is to get this question since I never ask non vegetarians why they are what they are.
Frequently I refer to how cattle are raised, the hormones, the odd practice of feeding dead animal parts to animals which eventually led to foot and mouth, and that sort of thing. The more combative people will respond with the “don’t you worry about how your plants are being raised, what goes into your vegetables?” To which I normally respond, “Yes. I worry.”
I’ve just begun to look more closely at the soy industry, as I’m a drinker of Soy Milk, and there is often soy in some of my meals as well as the soy pudding I enjoy eating every now and then. No doubt an astute smarty-pants reader of my blog will leave a long comment about the horrors of soy farming. Let me try to mention some of that to save him/her the trouble:
In places such as Paraguay, soy expansion has had a negative impact on water, the environment in general, and the way of life of many small farmers. In Brazil, in the state of Mato Grosso for example, the booming soy industry had led to the clearing of more and more rain forest.
I realize this might only be the tip of the iceberg. But at the same time, this does not summarize what soy means to the world, because I want to hear about the good it can do, and especially the realm of sustainable soy cultivation.
I recently found an organization based here in Amsterdam, “A Seed”, who specialize in reporting on this issue and can also explain how things work with sustainable soy. I’m in contact with them and an interview for the podcast will be coming soon. Lets see what I learn.