Food is political.
Whether one is blue or red, every time each of us shops or puts food in our mouths we are making a choice that is a political statement. I know, what a way to spoil a good meal.
Let’s take for example purchasing an apple in September that was imported from China versus an apple from Harvard, Massachusetts. Buying the MA apple is providing revenue for a local farm. It is helping to insure that the orchard is not sold for development. It is helping to insure that the farmer, probably a man over 50, will be able to continue farming. By purchasing the MA apple, you are saying you support your community and fellow community members and you value the environment around you.
Agriculture is an easy example but the same concepts apply to processed foods: Buy Cape Cod potato chips rather Lays. Eat at restaurants that are buying from local producers and think about what you are ordering. Why do we need to have asparagus on our plate year round when it is only harvested in the early summer? Just because we can have access to something doesn’t mean we should have it!
In early June I participated in a forum on the economics of food. The speakers were from different segments of the local food economy: Niaz Dory (Northeast Atlantic Marine Alliance), David Warner (City Feed & Supply), Ridge Shinn (Hardwick Beef ), Jim Buckle (Allandale Farm) and Jamey Lionette (formerly of Lionette’s Market). The single most important thing that came out of the conversation was that every one of us needs to make a paradigm shift in our thinking and our actions towards our food.
We can no longer only focus on cheap food. We need to focus on the true cost of the food and figure out how everyone can pay for what food should cost. This may seem like an enormous task but if we each make one small change, it all adds up.
Buy as close to the source of the food as possible.
If it costs more, eat a little less.
Think first, then act!