Today, there is a food revolution happening and it is not based on food shortages or food security, but rather on the exhilarating connection to the very thing that binds cultures, people and generations.
Despite the fact that, 1 in 3 Americans is obese, and most food found in our super markets, that is not organic, is genetically modified – there is a metamorphosis in our food culture, happening in the mist of all of this.
As we know, we began as hunters and gatherers. Eating and cooking solely what we could hunt and harvest. Through time, technology, and the advancements of the industrial revolution things changed dramatically. We began canning, preserving and freezing.
Today, most Americans take very little regard in what they eat, how it is processed, what is in it, and most of all, how much of it they eat.
The irony is how much our eating habits have changed in a mere 100 years – from our food supply, quantity, quality and nutritional content, to the amount of imported goods we consume.
Perhaps a simple way of addressing this is we went from viewing food as a sacred commodity to a simplified convenience.
While most of America has accepted that we have moved from an agricultural society to industrialized agriculture, and embracing that fact that most of our food travels 1500 miles – there is a huge subculture that has sprouted up globally.
This movement touts local, seasonal and organic – back yards being converted food forests and front lawns are being torn up to make way for urban gardens.
The movement has taken root in all of America’s largest cities, while infiltrating small towns and growing communities. It is taking shape in the form of expanding farmers markets, community gardens, edible schoolyards and even homesteading.
There are several large installations of some of these applications found in places like NY MOMA’s infamous indie art museum in Queen’s known as PS1. Annually there is a competition of young architects at the opportunity to build an oasis during their summer installation. This year’s winners have built a full blown farm, producing food and raising chickens.
In the San Francisco Civic Center – the entire front lawn has been replaced with a garden, in time for the Slow Food festival – and the harvest will coincide with festivities all through Labor Day.
Just this past weekend I attended a Public Fruit Jam in Echo Park – where an art gallery was opened to the public to bring in your local fruit to make jars of fresh jam – I brought in green sour apples from my backyard and coupled it with figs, lemons and mint to create this outrageous homemade jam!
The irony out of all of this is that this food consciousness isn’t rising amongst rural farmers or a certain genre of people nor class – everyone is welcome and encouraged! Swapping recipes, seeds and gardening tips are no longer a thing of the past, but rather a really hip and obvious thing to be doing.
In January of the year, the FDA approved the sale of cloned meat. Worst off its not going to be labeled.
What does that mean? No one really knows. These technologies have not been tested, and therefore are using the naivete of the public to take advantage. There are, a lot, of studies that show our farming subsidies are being used to over produce food, triggered to encourage over consumption.
When you compare the practices of our country in the production and marketing of food – we are the only ones with such laws that truly do not have the health and safety of their consumers in mind.
Which is a far cry from the days of WWII when our country touted Victory Gardens throughout and encouraged people to provide for themselves.
These days, we are beginning to take back our independence by growing our own food supply.
Don’t have a yard? Fret not …. food in pots grows incredible varieties! Don’t have time or the patience to grow your own? There are Community Supported Agriculture known as CSA’s – where you can have a box of beautiful organic fruits and veggies grown in a local farm delivered to your door weekly – for the same prices as your local market.
There is that classic adage that you are what you eat. The reality is that our habits around food have lost their value – and now more than ever, is a critical time to begin asking the right questions, and being aware of what you are consuming, and most of all, knowing where your food comes from.
So what are the advantages to eating local and seasonal?
With local food there are much lower energy costs and the nutritional value of your food is much higher, since the crop was not harvested early. Most of all, you are supporting your local farmers, your community and a really incredible movement that is taking shape and coming soon to your community!
This change, amongst all these other alternative ways of living have stemmed out of our need as a society to not only find ways in sourcing our energy and water, but our food as well. With the current state of affairs, our convenience as Americans, is being tested.
We are finding ourselves relying on our community as well as our neighbors. In essence we adopting the ways of our ancestors. The need to continue to push the envelop all while looking back and taking in the strides taken by our predecessors!!