Waiting for Our Food to Change

Waiting for Our Food to Change

May 02

Laura and I have both been reading a lot of anecdotal books about agriculture and community, like the one I’m currently reading about the town of Hardwick, Vermont, and how a few enterprising individuals there are trying to build a model for a local food economy. Throughout many of these books, I’ve noticed a common thread, a shared sentiment that something is awry with the American food system, that people are starting to realize this, and that change is just around the corner. I feel inspired knowing that people who are more involved in agriculture than I am, or more involved in politics than I am, are convinced that a food revolution is beginning.

However, as I observe the contrast between what I read and what I see in the world around me, I can’t help wondering if these inspiring individuals aren’t projecting their passions onto others. I know that when I experience a paradigm shift within myself, when I begin to understand an issue in new ways, it’s easy to believe that something has changed in the world, not just in myself. Surely, since I can see it so clearly, everyone else must be able to as well? But, alas, this isn’t always the case.

And these inspirational figures who are convinced that things are moving away from an industrialized food system never seem to offer up any statistics or facts to back up their romantic claims. I see that new farmers markets are popping up across the country, that a trend is evolving toward local and organic food, that people with clout like Jamie Oliver are spreading the word about our broken system, but is it really enough? Or will we continue on our industrialized path until we have no choice but to seek a new model? Our government let the banks follow a path of certain failure until they had no choice but to ask for help. Uncle Sam let the auto industry do the same. Will it be any different with the food system?

I see no reason to believe that it will. Which means we need to effect change ourselves by eating differently and demanding different things from our grocery stores and our community. Which, of course, is what Laura and I are so passionate about at this point in our lives. But what remains to be seen is how we’ll be able to spread our ideas, make people think, and ignite some change in our own community. We try, every day, but we’re still looking to get involved in a big way.

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