October 22, 2006

another thought on the subject

As I read more in The Omnivore's Dilemma, particularly the Grass section I've just finished about both corporate organic and extremely local intensively managed not-government-approved-but-might-as-well-be organic farms, the concept arises that local food is perhaps even more important in the fight for safe clean food than organic is. Local production by its very definition cannot be subverted into an industrialized machine, with the universe of sins that come as part and parcel of that industrialization. I have been thinking a lot about what this means in my own life.

Bottom line, I am going to keep doing what I am doing, going to farmers' markets whenever I can, growing my own vegetables and herbs, and supplementing that with organic from whatever supermarket I can get to, and generally doing the best I can. I will try harder to buy local, though, because the figures on how much petroleum is burned growing and transporting food to me are appalling (one quarter of america's petroleum use, if I remember the figure correctly, go to food production and transport?).

But here is the other thought that came out of this: If getting food and other goods locally is the most effective way to fight or at least circumvent the industrial food machine -- and all its foreign-oil, agribusiness, big-box, gene modification and chemical allies -- then isn't devoting time to the production and gathering of local food an intensely political act? And if that's true, it isn't just the farmers who are politicized. Isn't devoting time to "traditional" housewifery activities such as cooking, preserving, & gardening now even more overtly a deliberate political act in this attempt to improve the world? (Even sewing and crafts start to fall into this view of the world, if by so doing you thwart globalization and fossil fuel use.)

I think that hardline old school feminists really ought to put that one in their pipe and smoke it. The debate goes back and forth, who is most righteous, the mommies or the careerists, and most of the arguments are subjective. This view of local food strikes me as a pretty rock-solid argument for the mommies -- which I suppose I am, even with a full-time technology job and without any kids, considering how much cooking and crafting I do and wish I could do. Really it seems to boil down to a couple of things: what do you enjoy doing with your time? and what are your economic politics?

The worry for me, though, is what about those of us, men and women, without the time, inclination or know-how to eat local in any meaningful way? It's all very easy for me to say, considering that the same way men are reputed to think about sex every 17 seconds, I think about food at least as much, and cook far more than is warranted for a career girl living alone in a city.

How can we help the not-so-food-obsessed make the eat-local thing work?

Posted by foodnerd at October 22, 2006 09:20 AM

Well, how it fits in my hillbilly mind is that at least one partner needs to be at home doing family related things. Such as children, growing your own veggies and all that rot. It does'nt have to be the female, but someone needs to take responsiblity for it. If not? Some thing or some one gets left out. And I believe that's where our children and home life has gone, left the hell out. It takes effort every day to make it work. While you may not be the one doing the farming, you can be the one supporting them. Synergism baby.


Posted by: Dr. Biggles at October 30, 2006 05:18 PM

well, biggles, i am not so far from agreeing with you -- i always like to say that everyone needs a wife, especially wives -- but what about single people? Once you meet someone and set up house, you can divide the labor and conquer (assuming you can afford to, which if you can't you probably ought to move somewhere cheaper). But if you're 25 or 30, single, working and trying to make your way, and aren't food-obsessed, who will take care of that for you? I kind of want to set up some kind of CSA for cooked food, or something -- so them that cooks can feed them that don't, but with good locally sourced food, cooked locally.

Posted by: foodnerd at November 1, 2006 02:34 PM

Yes, singles and aren't food obsessed. Known many such peoples and the lack of interest in food in general kinda scared me. They just don't care and surely won't pay a premium for such a service. They're quite happy doing what they do and food or food related politics just don't enter in to their daily routine. I say, let them be, they don't see anything wrong with how they're living life. A change isn't in their future.

Unless we started the Church of Food. Then we could preach the good stuff, the good way. We'd have to buy some acreage in Texas with some kind of compound. OoOoO, what fun !! The Cult of Food will rise !!!

Posted by: Dr. Biggles at November 3, 2006 01:24 PM
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