I squandered an opportunity several years ago and I think about it nearly every day.
I ran into Safeway to grab snacks to take to a jackpot livestock show- granola bars, apples, bananas, strawberries, pop, donuts, and finally, a box of ice cream sandwiches for my family waiting in the pickup.
The woman in front of me in line had four dirty little kids and one, the oldest boy, was being particularly ornery. I talked to the two youngest and they told me they were driving back to Missouri and had stopped at Safeway to get dinner. In the cart: two loaves of bread and an onion.
The mama dug in her pockets to pay for what she had while I talked to the kids.
The boy had spotted the ice cream sandwiches and was eying them. When the girl, who was maybe 8, saw them, we compared notes on our favorite flavors. She was pretending to eat an ice cream cone and she reached out and touched the cold box and ran her fingers through the frost as her mom pulled the cart toward the end of the register.
I watched her leave and realized what I had done. I should have paid the $50 for the groceries in my cart and run them out and put them in her van. I had more food meant for snacks than those kids had seen in a long time. Healthier food.
Onions. And bread.
Can you imagine how that mama must feel, only being able to put those things in their little bellies?
I paid and left and when I walked by her van, the oldest and orneriest boy was jimmying the battery cables so the car would start. He must have been the man of the house.
Onions. And bread.
Misinformed legislation and ballot proposals driven by extremists and activists who move forward without regard for stakeholders takes food out of the mouths of people who need it most.
Onions and Bread.
A proposed Colorado ballot initiative is currently making its way to the signature gathering phase. It’s written by two young activists, hoping to make “dignity” of treatment the norm for all animals, including livestock. As written, the efficiencies and processes that producers use-artificial insemination and pregnancy palpation among them-would be criminalized. Additionally, cattle (and other livestock depending on their definition of lifespan length) could not be slaughtered until 60 months of age, rather than the industry standard 24 months. This is a huge drain on resources and would end the livestock industry in the state.
Aside from producer families like mine who would be forced out of business, small towns and schools would suffer.
But the stakeholder most overlooked by misinformed legislation and proposals is that woman in the store and others like her. We have the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply in the world and activist-driven policies like this would put healthy food even further out of her reach.
Onions and bread.
Defending agriculture in this state, an industry that contributes $7 billion annually to Colorado’s economy, is going to take consumers who are willing to stand in the gap to defend their rural neighbors and their hungry neighbors. Without the votes for common sense and full bellies, neither will exist.