I was one of the speakers Sunday at TEDxSeattle, giving voice, for the first time, to what I’ve learned these last 2+ years of focus on local eating.
You will see that there are many echoes of Your Money or Your Life. Not just the frugality meets farmers part, but that I came to question assumptions I didn’t even know I had about food, nutrition, cooking, the store and on and on… and out of these awakenings i came to care even more about local relational eating – eating in the context of a real place, a real community.
At the after party, mingling with speakers, volunteers, audience members, i was snagged by several moms who said they would buy my book… for their kids! Maybe I could get them to eat real food??? One quoted the following conversation with her son.
Mom, there’s nothing to eat!
Son, the fridge and cupboards are full
But Mom, you have to macgiver that food.
Macgiver-ing, it seems, is spreading peanut butter on bread or mixing tuna with mayo or maybe mixing orange juice. I have no idea what that means they WILL eat. Life on pop tarts? energy bars?
Got me thinking … what if there were teen celebrity chefs with thousands of kids from around the world submitting recipes and youtube videos of making them and the best getting on TV like other talent spectacles we so enjoy… or celebrity teens who cook.
My imagination started to go wild, because clearly cooking skills would make the idea of eating whole, real, local foods appetizing. In fact, on my 10-mile diet I revived some old skills myself – like canning and pressure cooking. I found a couple of projects that teach cooking to teens – one with a justice focus, one that’s more like a party. Rather than share just those two, I invite you to hunt with me. How are teens being taught to cook?
Do you cook with your kids? Do they know how to cook? Is cooking a barrier for you to eating a healthier diet?
What, besides cooking, keeps you from going local with your eating?
Well… I try to eat as much local as I can afford, but it’s really hard. It’s just SOOOOOO expensive and SOOOOOO hard to find.
I guess my main frustration with the whole local foods movement is that it seems to be a rather elitist thing. I took the lessons of YMOYL to heart back in the ’90’s and I live on very little money. Hence, I live in one of Denver’s poorest neighborhoods (I lovingly call it “the barrio”) and I see poverty on a day to day basis. Many of my neighbors can barely afford to feed their families – let alone pay $13/lb for local chicken or $6/dozen for eggs. Plus, there just aren’t farmer’s markets here in the barrio. You have to drive to one of the ex-urbs or the trendy upscale neighborhoods – it sorta kills my walking and biking for transportation strategy, to say nothing of my many neighbors who can’t afford cars!
CSA’s are another option, but none have any pick-up locations in this part of town. I used to belong to one, but the distributions were way the heck on the other side of town at RUSH HOUR (who thinks these are good ideas?) so it was a total of 3 hours in the car round trip – which sorta seemed like it was cancelling out any environmental good that eating local might be doing. I ended up expanding my garden and trying to grow more of my own vegetables and just gave up on CSA’s in general (plus I have terrible food allergies so I couldn’t eat a good chunk of my share anyway.)
Anyhow, that’s my gripe about the movement. I mean, on the one hand I totally, TOTALLY want to be on board, but on the other hand, it seems like a movement that excludes a good chunk of the population for economic reasons isn’t really going to be able to create fundamental change.
I guess this is part of my frustration with the environmental movement in general. There was a time when environmentalism was largely focused on trying to enact change by getting better laws and regulations passed, and by trying to change “the system” at large. But these days the movement has glommed on to personal choice its only expression. It’s like people have decided that the corporations are so entrenched and powerful that they can’t take them on, so instead we’re trying to shop our way out of this problem by buying the “right” things. In my experience this strategy leads to a lot of finger pointing and “greener than thou” stuff, which really doesn’t help anybody.
I’m not saying that personal choices don’t matter, but in a big picture sort of a way, if we’re counting on some sort of “do-gooder” instinct to save the species, I think we’re sunk.
Sorry for the rant, you sorta struck a chord! 🙂
Vicki, I am just getting to viewing this video…enjoyed your talk immensely! You shared your powerful message in a very entertaining way. Good luck with future ventures. Regards, Marilyn Hall Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2013 04:13:05 +0000 To: email@example.com