Food has recently returned to the center of our attention, and in the outback of Belize we have had some lovely surprises. An unexpected essay, from one of the food world’s most prominent writers, gives another view altogether from the USA:
Like many of us, I spent the winter muddling through a mental miasma, pondering the meaning of life and democracy. I did, of course, think about “food” — how it’s produced, marketed, discussed, consumed, and so on — during my self-imposed hiatus from near-constant writing, which began more than 18 months ago.
But I also wondered about its relevance. So much so that, after the election, I said that working on food issues had to take second place to “defending democracy”: It seemed to me that food was somehow less important than it had been BT“Before Trump.” Since this is a food column, after all, we could also say “before the chickens came home to roost,” acknowledging that the founders actually established a faux-democracy, which allows the system to be rigged to the point where even a statement like “all white men are created equal” is a joke; and how that, in turn, left a large enough number of voters apathetic and/or frustrated enough to make room for a disrupter like Trump.. I mean, we were instantly looking at the near-dissolution of the EPA. Six months later, we’ve withdrawn from the Paris climate accord, which withdraws us from honest engagement and responsibility in the global community. How could we not reconsider the relative importance of farmers’ markets, veggie burgers, the role of ruminants in agriculture, or soda taxes?
Making matters worse, our initial fears about the development of a new non-normal have been confirmed.Maybe I’m wrong about your fears, but if I were, you would have clicked elsewhere by now. The people in charge are climate deniers, racists, xenophobes, and sexists, along with financial lobbyists, billionaires, novices, misanthropes, and just plain fuckers. Oh, and boosters of junk food. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the position of defending democratic principles, preventing catastrophe, and building those aspects of society that can stand independently of the federal government. In the wake of such seismic change, “sustainable” has taken on new meaning.
Yet all politics is local, and by staring too hard at the big picture (about which we seemingly can do very little at the moment), we’re in danger of failing to act on those things that we can affect…
Read the whole essay here.