Where The Hell Have You Been?

Dedicated to Uncle Bobby

How far do you travel each day?

“To work, maybe to the marketplace…

about twenty miles”

you might say

“To school, and to the gym…

thirty miles”

well, do you drive a truck

or a car

or the subway

or a train

or a taxi?

or maybe you take your motorcycle

how many miles do you get

per gallon of gasoline?

You’ve got an electric car,

so you’re clean and green?

Where do you plug your car in

when you have to refuel?

Where does that electricity come from?

is it solar?

is it wind?


how about coal?

maybe diesel?

Let’s just say it was solar today

for the sake of argument

and let’s just say it was a holiday

and that you never even left your house

you sat outside and read a book

it can’t get any greener than that

but how far did you travel?

did you drive to the hardware store?


didn’t go anywhere?

oh… that’s right…

well that’s great!


how far did you travel?

I mean

what was on your breakfast plate?

if it was oatmeal,

did you grow the oats?

or an omelet?

were they your chickens

that laid the eggs?

how about a farmers omelet,

where was the pepper grown?

if, that is,

it wasn’t your own garden

and how about the tomato

and the broccoli,

and the onion,

were they flown in

or did they come on a barge?

do you know who is in charge

on the farm?

do the workers make a fair wage?

sorry, I didn’t mean to sound the alarm

but the coffee

who grew the coffee

and how far did it travel

to make it’s way

into your mug?

oh, I know you can’t live without it

it’s very much a drug

and the bananas

do they grow those now

where you live?

and even just cereal,

the box can give you an idea

as to how far it’s come

to make it to your bowl

some of the companies put pictures

of the farmers on the box now

Indiana, let’s say it was Indiana

where they grew the wheat

I’m guessing that they used a tractor

to harvest it

then loaded it into a truck

then drove down the street

and across the country

to someplace like Connecticut

where they process it into cereal,

then they probably trucked it

to a regional distribution center

and then to a local distribution center

and then to your local grocery store

cereal sounds good,

are you sure you don’t want more?

and the milk that you pour

do you know where the cows live?

or where the almonds are grown

or the soy?

oh boy, we’re losing track of the miles

aren’t we

and we didn’t even slice into the baguette

and the brie

bacon, how about bacon

odds are the pig was raised

somewhere in the Midwest

you’re already full?

alright, we’ll compost the rest

but finish that orange juice

that came all the way

from the sunshine state

and how about a little snack

maybe a mango

and a couple dates?

well, the mango came from India

and the dates came from the Middle East,

or at best

California at least.


Maybe you’ll just have a light lunch?

we’ll keep it nice and vegan

just a kale salad

with tomato

and avocado,

and a bowl of quinoa curry

with a ginger kombucha

to wash it all down.

Well, for lunch you’ll be going to Mexico

to pick up the tomatoes

and the Central Valley

for the kale

and the Dominican Republic

for the avocado

and to the Andes

for the quinoa

and to India,

for the curry

and, wow

you’re going to Nepal to get your ginger

but that’s not all

you’ll also be heading to Kenya

for the tea

and back down to South America

for some sugarcane

well, how about a nap

lunch was exhausting!

but not nearly as exhausting

as it must have been

for all of the peasant farmers

all over the world

helping bring you

a nice, light

vegan lunch

that they themselves

could never afford

well, good lord

I wonder what dinner will bring?

Come on, I’ll help you make it

is there anything in your refrigerator

grown here in town?

how about in this state?

and, just for kicks

where did they make this plate?

so fancy, it’s fine China!

The only thing grown

within a thousand miles of here

are your cigarettes,

the tobacco was grown in North Carolina

but back to the food…

sorry, I’m not trying to be rude


Those were grown just a few towns away

but that plastic container they came in,

damn, it’s not recyclable

we’ll have to throw it away

and you know where plastic comes from,


Those blueberries were brought to you in part by…

some place in the Middle East

where we fight

but the blueberries themselves?

they’re local, alright

that is,

unless you count

the miles that the workers flew

or the fuel burned by the tractor

that cleaned the rows between where they grew.

Alright, hell with it

for dinner we’ll just have a smoothie.

So you agree?


What would go well

with these local blueberries?

We’ll keep it semi-local

with some Mexican strawberries

but we have to head further south again

for some Nicaraguan bananas

and back to Brazil

because I know how you just love acai

these berries are to die for!

I’ll admit, it was a light dinner

there’s certainly room for more

maybe just a little Belgian chocolate?

You do know

they don’t grow the cacao in Belgium,


that’ll be another flight

to Africa

or South America

your choice…


if food could only talk

do you think then

the farmers might have a voice?


Maybe you take the bus to work or school

or maybe you even ride a bike,

and maybe you’re a vegan

and maybe you’re gluten free

maybe you celebrate earth day

each and everyday

and maybe you’ve even planted a thousand trees

maybe you drive a Prius

and maybe you think that technology

will free us from oil

but where the hell have you been?

oh, I’m sorry

I never meant to embroil…

and when I said travel

I wasn’t talking about your truck

or your car


compared to where you’re food comes from

you’re morning commute

isn’t really that far.

I’m not trying to be an ass

and I know it took a long time

for things to get this way

but before you take a bite

stop and think for a moment

and maybe things will get better

one day…

About soitgoes1984

I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean in the Hawaiian Kingdom which is currently illegally occupied by the American government. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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