Thanks, everyone, for your comments on my tomato post. JaneAnne, you're right that accountability is complicated. I asked Marion Nestle a related question a few months back and this is what she said:
We do have plenty of food safety agencies, and that’s the problem. They have different missions and methods and have many overlaps and gaps, some of them so absurd that they would be hilarious if the problems weren’t so serious. The Government Accountability Office has been screaming for decades that we must do something to fix the system, and the only likely fix is to establish one food safety agency to oversee the whole food system, from farm to table.
My mother e-mailed me to say that if she waited for her garden-grown tomatoes she wouldn't eat tomatoes until August! Growing your own is a great solution, but it's not the only solution. I gave up growing tomatoes because we don't have a water source on the roof (tomatoes get thirsty and demand buckets and buckets of water to be carried up two flights of stairs) and because the night critters kept nibbling.
Farmers markets aren't going to save everyone, either. I believe the New York City greenmarkets accept food stamps -- I don't know about elsewhere. But still, local produce tends to be too pricey and inaccessible for many people. I know I nearly passed out when I paid $10 for five Jersey tomatoes last weekend.
And just to put things into perspective, because I know I come across as a locavore zealot sometimes, eating local foods in season is an ideal but it's impractical for most of us to apply exclusively. If I did that, it would be apples and Jerusalem artichokes for us all winter.
I did pay more attention to buying local produce at the Coop this week and I ended up buying a lot of greens -- that's what's in season here at the moment, I guess. I highly recommend sorrel, which had a lemony flavor. We've been eating red-leaf lettuce, mizuna, arugula, and sorrel salads this week and I've loved it.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Posted by Adriana Velez at 12:51 PM