Every Home Should be a Food Factory

Robert Rodale's 1969 editorial about the importance of growing your own food.

By Robert Rodale


Organic farming and gardening continues to be a growing movement.Much of the health trouble we have today is caused by the fact that our food goes through factories before we get it. Good, whole grains are taken into mills and processed in many ways for many purposes. Their rough outside coats are taken off, the germ is removed, the oil is dissolved out, and what is left is cooked and chemicalized into a variety of high- profit products with much less nutritional value. Such processing lowers the content of valuable minerals, vitamins, oils and protein, leaving the less desirable parts for us to eat.

Factory treatment spoils not only grains, but many other foods. Meats, vegetables, dairy products—you name it and chances are it goes into a factory to come out eventually in some less desirable form. Not only are good things taken out of our food, but bad things are added in many cases. Saturated fat is put into a long list of foods, and also sugar, salt, artificial colors and spices, synthetic preservatives and other chemicals. The government people in charge of protecting our diets have looked at each one of those additives and decided that in their opinion it is safe. But what they haven't done is to sit back and think of what they all mean when taken together on the dinner plate. The result is that people are eating too much fat, salt, sugar, starch and the other things I listed, because those things are magnified in food as it travels through factories and processing plants. 

Cost of food goes up as it is factory treated. Just look at your own shopping list. Per pound, you pay more for foods like TV dinners, instant potatoes, breads and cakes—the foods where almost all the preparation is done by the food manufacturers, and all you have to do is eat. In these days of rising costs and plenty of hungry mouths to feed, many people overlook the savings they could achieve by using food that is closer to its natural state and doing the preparation in their own kitchens.

Every home should be a food factory, at least to a certain extent. Then we could ourselves see what is being done to the food in processing. We would save plenty of money, have more nutritious food, enjoy better and fresher taste, and reap rewards in improved health. Sure, it will take a little more time and effort to do some of that food preparation yourself, but once you get the experience, it goes fast. Also, there is the convenience of having stores of larger quantities of food in your house, so you have to shop less often. If you deduct the time spent bucking traffic to go often to the store, then preparing food at home is seen to be less burdensome.