Sweet Corn vs Corn
South Dakota Corn Growers Association, along with other corn producing states, have the sexiest corn commercials. They feature beautiful images of farmers in lovely light, in vast fields of corn, talking about their commitment to regenerative agriculture and soil health. But, these commercials are a lie. There is nothing regenerative about industrialized corn production.
It's not that the corn farmers are bad, it's the industrialized ag approach to our food system thats broken, unsustainable, and comes with a big IOU to environment health, animal health, and our own human health.
Here are a few statistics on Field Corn:
- The United States is the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of corn in the world.
- On average, U.S. farmers plant about 90 million acres of corn each year, with the majority of the crop grown in the Heartland region.
- 45% of the field corn crop is used domestically as the main energy ingredient in livestock feed.
- 45% of the field corn produced is used for fuel ethanol production.
- The remaining 10% of the filed corn produced is used for multitude food uses, and include cornstarch, corn syrup, corn oil, beverages and industrial alcohols. Most of which, are not good for us.
Here are a few statistics on Sweet Corn:
- About 60,000,000 cwt (hundred weight) of sweet corn is grown annually on about 500,000 farms across the United States.
- Based on the value of production, the top five sweet corn states are Florida, California, Georgia, Washington, and Minnesota.
- The original corn, also known as maize, is native to the Americas and has been cultivated in Central America since 3500 BC.
- Maize was an important food to the Native Americans. These early agriculturalists planted the corn in small hills, with beans around them, interspersing squash throughout the field. They called this planting method “the three sisters”, because of how the plants nurtured each other like family when planted together. The beans naturally absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to nitrates, fertilizing the soil for the corn and squash. In return, the beans were supported by winding around the corn stalks and the squash leaves provided ground cover between the corn and beans, which aided in weeds from taking over the field. These three plants proved to thrive together better than when they are planted alone. An early example of regenerative farming.
We do love sweet corn, but we are not supportive of corn in our meat, or the degradation it puts on our environment and our own health.
If you are looking for ways to enjoy this sweet, seasonal favorite, here are a few new recipes to consider.