“Dismissing those who pay a premium for organic-this and local-that as effete, arugula-munching liberals obscures the fact that the real elites are, as always, the billionaires: in this case, the owners of the massive agribusiness conglomerates that dominate America’s food production. The sinful elites are those currently pushing through a bill in Iowa to ban photographs of industrial farming operations, not Michelle Obama and her vegetable garden, or the diners at Brooklyn farm-to-table restaurants. The latter might be easier to satirize, but our moral outrage should be directed at those who keep fresh, healthy food out of the hands of the poor and poison the landscape while they’re at it.”—
If it wasn’t obvious from the title of our show - Working Class Foodies, for pete’s sake - we completely disagree with the accusation that ‘foodies’ are elitists who celebrate, flaunt, or derive a sick joy from eating higher quality food than the Average Joe can afford. As Joanna Scutts says in this meta-review of Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter, it’s not ‘foodies’ or ‘gourmands’ or ‘Brooklynites’ (har, har) who are creating the dividing line in food quality between the haves and have-nots, it’s the big agriculture conglomerates that turn our farmland into over-worked wheat, corn, and soy fields, inject affordable food with unhealthy HFCS and chemical preservatives, mutilate livestock and stuff them full of unnecessary growth hormones and antibiotics, and create and foster unsafe, unsanitary, unhealthy, and inhumane conditions at slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants, for both the animals and the human workers.
Change in our country’s food industry won’t come from name-calling and sniping at each other but from seeking out good food grown properly, animals raised and killed humanely, food that doesn’t harm the environment from chemical runoff or forced growing without crop rotation. As Michael Pollan has famously said, we get to vote our food conscious three times a day. Even if that vote is buying an organically-grown apple at the farmer’s market instead of a bag of Frito-Lays potato chips from a vending machine, it counts. We can all play a part in changing our country’s relationship with food.