We visited the US Sugar Company's lands and processing plant as part of the Farm Tour we took in March. It was the hardest part of the tour for us. Sugar is controversial around these parts (and not just personally because we are trying hard to avoid it for health reasons).
The broader controversy goes back many years when the big growers nearly destroyed the Everglades by turning the River of Grass into farmed fields for sugar cane. Now some of the land is being reclaimed in an effort to save what's left.
The State of Florida has had an option on more lands belonging to "Big Sugar" for years and the option expires next year. In the last election, there was a referendum that the people of Florida approved by a margin of 75%, asking the State government to complete the purchase -- to send the State's water, which is being used on the cane fields, to the Everglades.
But guess what? It appears that Big Sugar has more influence with the legislature than three-quarters of the people of the State. The above is a cartoon by Doug MacGregor, editorial cartoonist for the Fort Myers News Press. We can only hope that public opinion may sway the legislators but it does not look good at this time.
Here are some of the people from our tour standing, not in the snow, but on a mountain of sugar after it has gone through step one at the processing plant. Not very appetizing (but to be fair, it will be processed further, bleached and sterilized before it goes into the supermarket bag).
Although it is always interesting to learn how things are "made", we did not enjoy this segment as much as we did the parts of the day I blogged about earlier -- the parts that were about food we actually feel good about eating. (Click here for the 'good stuff' post.)
LINKING to OUR WORLD. (Thank you to Lady Fi, Arija, Gattina, Sylvia, Sandy, and Jenn) and to NATURE NOTES (though sadly this post is more about the destruction of the natural world). Thank you to Michelle.