A modern heritage foodstead
Since I began my fascination with our provisioning, cooking and eating habits, I find often blocking the way are the rock-solid walls inside our collective American mind.
OK, there you go with the “chick’s goofy” eye rolling again, but here’s the thing. Again and again, in article after article, news clip after news clip it’s present; the gaping omission of alternative thinking. The stone wall every idea is smashed against isn’t an actual insurmountable obstacle, but a determined unwillingness to consider an alternative.
The standard editorial seems to offer two choices. One, we can accept things as they are, or two, there will be a Great Catastrophe. Simple, black & white thinking that always argues to keep things as they are.
Why organic, sustainable farming can or can’t feed the world is a common
target topic these days. Why doesn’t anyone ever ask what I want to know:
Who died and made America responsible for feeding the world?
Somewhere is there is a dictionary translating Corporation-ese to Human? In it I’m sure “Feeding the World” is really code for “Don’t Rock the Boat”, or maybe “Sit Down and Shut Up”.
Am I crazy to also wonder why no one ever suggests that instead of feeding the world handouts we instead Teach the World to Fish? Tiller’s International is quietly doing just that, with technology and methods third world countries are actually able to afford and maintain on their own. Awesome, and by the way, they can use a little help.
Isn’t it just a little arrogant of us to believe these people aren’t capable of feeding themselves without our help? There are absolutely special circumstances where a simple handout of food is the right thing to do. But get them out of a hard spot and help them restore their own sustainable food systems – that’s a real gift.
Who says non-industrial eating is elitist? People who think we have only two dietary options, that’s who. And what are those options?
- The Standard American Diet
- Replicating the Standard American Diet with its exact equivalent in expensive, elite foods
The argument that non-industrial food is elitist is true only if you refuse to expand your thinking a bit. For example, if:
The world aspires to attain the American Dream which includes a heaping plate of CAFO pork chops, boneless chicken breasts, plate sized steaks and all you can eat farmed seafood each and every day, three times
We continue to eat the whim of the day instead of what we planned for the day from the seasonal, bulk ingredients we sourced from real farms
We continue to throw away up to 40% of the food we buy
We never learn how to cook with real, unprocessed ingredients
Nobody grows their own anything, ever
We continue to believe a stocked pantry not filled with instantly eatable boxed packaged food = nothing to eat
Of course, these same rock-solid walls exist every time any argument or idea challenges someone’s personal habits and there is no clear, single, black & white course of alternative action. Climate change, recycling, gas drilling, immigration, parenting, politics, abortion, animal welfare, tea partiers, occupy wall street-ers… you get the picture. Oops – la la la la la – I can’t hear you; bouncing right off that great stone wall in my head.
I get it. We don’t want to change. It’s inconvenient and hard. We fight to skew circumstances to reflect our correctness. We close our ears to evidence that we may be mistaken. While reading articles that challenge our view of reality, we don’t allow ourselves to entertain any doubt. Instead, we avoid the message by busying ourselves formulating witty, snarky and dismissive retorts rather than ruminating on the possibility the article may have a valid point.
I could go on, but I’m sure I’ve already challenged your ability to care if you’ve even lasted this long.
Maybe, just maybe, 2012 can be a year we will allow ourselves to be vulnerable to a little uncomfortable, fearsome, confidence-shattering listening? How about it – are you in?