Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fresh food do-goodism

I didn't cook last night. Instead we went to our friends Pedro and Jen's, where we had Jen's luscious, fluffy, garlicky baba ganoush, burgers, and strawberries with creme fraiche.

In yesterday's times there was an editorial by Julie Powell about the fresh foods movement. Her argument is that while this new embrace of fresh, locally-grown, organic foods is admirable and rewarding, it's not terribly democratic. Only those who can afford to may join the movement. So the sense of judgment that has emerged (you're a bad person if you buy canned goods, non-organic, out of season, etc.) is unfair to those who really cannot afford to make those choices. Furthermore, privations have lead to important innovations, such as canned foods.

I agree with her, but I think that's why it's all the more important that those who can continue to support small and organic food producers. What started out as a tiny market niche is growing into a popular industry. Even in my mother's far-flung suburb in Utah has a Wild Oats, something I thought I'd never see (this is a region where people choose low taxes and inexpensive real estate over things like proximity to cultural venues and high-end shopping). I tend to think that as this market continues to grow prices will go down and these kinds of foods will become increasingly accessible and affordable (though I know it's not as simple as that). We still have a long ways to go, but I think it's possible. Just look at McDonald's -- in just about every neighborhood, and now serving what appear to be decent salads, not just some iceberg with a rock-like tomato wedge dumped on top but actual dark green leaves with apples and nuts.

This is another reason why I like the Food Coop. It makes organic/locally produced foods affordable. People can use food stamps there. Yes, it's a big time commitment, and the location is in gentrified Park Slope, inconvenient for people in less affluent neighborhoods to frequent. But you still do see people from all sorts of backgrounds and many socioeconomic levels. Everyone has to work a shift and everyone pays the same prices. Here is where the fresh foods movement really stands a chance.

1 comment:

janeannechovy said...

The editorialist mentions Alice Waters in passing, but she fails to mention one of the most important aspects of the slow food movement: education. Alice Waters has set an example and started a trend of hands-on teaching about food. When kids know where their food comes from, they'll care more about what they're putting in their bodies, the thinking goes. Here's a recent article about a similar school garden here in Portland: