A Food Revolution?

March 26, 2009 at 1:47 am 3 comments

I’ve always been a doubting Thomas.  I need to see it to believe it.  And even then, I don’t believe it.

That’s pretty much sums up how I feel about what many are calling a U.S. “food revolution.”  Though I’ve met city gardeners, listened to urban chicken growers and beekeepers, and spoken to many young college-educated men and women with big dreams of having their own farms, I don’t buy the notion of a “food revolution,” at least not yet.  I see the nation’s growing fascination with food as just that – an appreciation or an awakening to what good, wholesome food is all about.  It’s a movement perhaps, maybe even a mini agricultural revival.  But not a revolution.  

Cheryl Rogowski, a second-generation farmer at W. Rogowski Farm, went so far as calling farming mainstream in a keynote speech (see “Farmers Rock” post below) at a local food conference earlier this month.  I balked.  Farming mainstream?  Even with 250 food and farm advocates in the room and more than 20 local farmers at the conference, I wasn’t convinced that farming was “mainstream” or that it was in the throes of a revolution.

Let’s face it.  The majority of New Yorkers and people I know shop in supermarkets, not farmers markets, and are hopelessly hooked on processed food.  Most have never heard of community supported agriculture and would be hard pressed to tell a parsnip from a turnip. 

Yet, there it was on the front page of the New York Times – a story about the “food revolution” and the push to create local food systems and entice Americans – children especially – to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. The Nation too ran an article a few weeks earlier about “the revolution” in food and farming.  “This revolt,” writes Solnit, “is taking place in the vast open space of Detroit, in the inner-city farms of West Oakland, in the victory gardens and public housing of Alemany Farm in San Francisco, in Growing Power in Milwaukee and many other places around the country.” She describes the revolution as taking place in “little bits everywhere.”

Maybe it is, but I need to see those bits coalesce into a discernible whole.  Until then, I’ll remain a doubting Thomas.


Entry filed under: Community Supported Agriculture, Local Food Production, Urban Agriculture. Tags: , , .

Farmers Rock Three Hundred Elephants

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Antonio  |  March 26, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I think now people are concious of the benefits of eating local. One of the problems, I think, is that the price of local produced food is still too high for some lower middle class pocketbooks. As soon as the price gap between local produced food and processed food is reduced the choice will be obvious.

  • 2. mcorreia  |  March 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Cost is definitely one of the biggest issues facing sustainable, locally produced food. The thinking is that rising fuel costs will help give local food an advantage over food that travels greater distances and uses more fertilizers, which are based on fossil fuels.

    Thanks for writing in!

  • […] never been a more challenging or exciting time to be farmers than now.”  Not so fast, I say, in this post.  An unrepentant doubting Thomas, I question what many are calling a U.S. “food […]

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