Sunday, March 22, 2009
Of food revolutions and politics
This article in today's New York Times poses the question of whether the time is right at last for a revolution in the way we grow, buy, distribute, and eat food. A perfect storm of factors, argues the writer, is brewing to make this happen: Economic hardship, political leaders who value sustainability and an older-school farming ethos, and an ever-more-complex web of relationships between those who grow food and those who eat it.
Is it, as Michael Pollan has suggested, time for a reform of our entire food system? Is this the moment to move toward the Alice Waters model of growing and eating local? I hope so.
The agribusiness lobby has had Washington's ear for the last eight years. I hope the new administration can hear something else now--the concerns of small family farmers, organic farmers, parents who want to feed their children (and eat themselves) high-quality food. One of the biggest obstacles to meaningful food reform in this country has been the fact that only the relatively wealthy have access to good food. So I'd like to see policies that broaden that access and make it possible for poor and inner-city consumers to buy local fruits and veggies, organic meats, and food that's grown to taste good rather than to last 4 weeks in a crate on the back of a truck.
Why am I writing about this here, you might ask? Because eating local food, organic food, food that bloody well tastes good, is a crucial part of learning once more to celebrate and enjoy food. It's a back door into my obsession with the joys of eating and of being comfortable with your body.