- A harvest dinner prepared by the farmers and gardeners including a lot of stuff we grow (beet burgers, baked fries, apple pies, cole slaw),
- An apple tasting to sample our 15 varieties of apples (have you heard of Mrs. Bramley? a premier cooking apple),
- Fun food facts every day at our work circle (did you know orange carrots are a more recent invention? Historically they were lots of colors and our current orange ones are a blend of the red and white strains)
- Movies like Food Inc. and The Garden
But these are the questions we ask: how do we protect the planet and try to feed everyone? Is food science the answer (GMOs yikes!)? Can we ever feed everyone? Do we already have enough food to feed everyone but there's an economic/social/political problem that favors a few over the many? What do we do about the heartbreaking amount of food wasted every day in the United States? Why don't people care? Do people care? Who or what creatures are most deserving of our moral and ethical efforts? Are patriarchy and racism involved? How does no one see the link between immigration policy and the produce that comes to our table (just in case you're not sure, much of our food is still harvested by illegal immigrants)?
Maybe I'll stop here for now while I continue to ponder. Below are some good reads from recent mainstream publications.
Follow up reading*:
- Edible Marin did an article about us as a farm and place of spiritual practice.
- This article in The Atlantic "How Junk Food Can End Obesity" discussed the issues of obesity, conventional food, techno food, and popular conceptions about eating organic and local among many other related topics. It was very difficult to read the article when it challenges some of the most basic tenets I hold in my heart in regards to food and its nutritional and environmental value. But maybe I have to open my eyes wider?
- This article was in the New York Times Magazine "Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat: A Contest". I have to commend it's originality to propose a contest such as this, something that would touch a wide audience. They asked readers to submit essays in regards to the ethics of eating meat. They had a panel of "judges" to pick the best essay, which was then published. There are also some great responses questioning things like the all white male judges panel to the moral judgement included in the proposal.
- This video from TED, called The Other Inconvenient Truth was used as a discussion starting point. It is similar in a way to the Atlantic article in that it approaches the food crisis from a fundamentally different perspective than many organic farmers. It is a good summary of the serious threat to and by agriculture on the ability of humans and the planet to survive. His "factual" statements are questionable.
* Please note that very often published material is delivered in a provocative way (ie. that will piss a fair number of people off) or attach big names in order to garner readers. So there is often a conflict of interest and ethics in how and what material is presented.