I often wonder about the mystery of the modern food movement, at least in the urbanized Global North. Why did it emerge so late in history — so long after the labor movement or women’s movement, for instance? And why do people care so much more about local food than about local cars or clothes or energy?
I think the Toronto’s Star’s star columnist Heather Mallick offers a way to think about this.
She writes today about the weird craving people have for tangible things, including (especially?) vintage items. People see everyday things as special, linking everyday events with a bit of ritual and ceremony.
What are big chunks of the food movement about if not that? In a synthetic world of virtual objects, the real and authentic objects have become rare and stand out as never before.
In 1999, at the dawn of the modern food movement, I co-wrote a book called Real Food for a Change. It called out Big Food companies for turning food into something that was unnatural and unreal, and for violating the four essentials to real food — health, joy, justice and nature.
I continue to think that the imaginary icon people have in the back of their minds about what real food is about — real product and real relationships — is what fuels the food movement.
Here’s the link to Heather’s article. Think of it when someone calls you a dreamer, and tells you to get real. Just tell them: I am real; that’s the point!