If food is the new cool, why aren’t people gobbling up my book series?
I read an article in the USA Today trending page calling food “the new cool” and asserting that “food has become the topic du jour and consumes consumers.” And it’s true. People today are getting back to the basics when it comes to their food. Not everybody, of course. But more and more. Sure, we don’t all know the proper pronunciation of quinoa, but most of us have eaten it. When I was a kid I hadn’t even eaten yogurt. When I was a kid, t.v. dinners in the little aluminum trays were impressive.
Farmers’ markets, so popular today, only became a phenomenon in the late 1990s. I grew up in the interim between when people still gardened and when they began subscribing to CSAs and routinely visiting farmers’ market. As a young adult, open markets were something I had never encountered in this country, only in the “third world” countries I visited or saw on t.v. Nowadays there are a number of markets, several days of the week in my city and surrounding towns. They are wonderful, colorful, scent-filled places. Places where you never know what you will find and always buy more than you intend to, but feel good about your purchase.
So food is the new cool. The article discusses the push for McDonald’s to become healthier. About other companies taking the caramel coloring out of their roast beef. How did this all happen? Was there a vestige of people my age who still remembered eating seasonally and the deliciousness of fresh food, or was it the obesity epidemic, allergy epidemic, and other rampant ailments that caused people to pay attention to what they put in their bodies? Or did it start with the farmers? The Oregon Encyclopedia states “By the 1970s, the number of locally owned grocery stores willing or able to buy from local farmers had dwindled, and most Oregonians no longer knew the people who grew their food. Oregon farmers’ markets that started in the 1970s and 1980s were organized largely by farmers looking for a place to sell their produce, because the trend toward national and regional food distribution had separated most small producers from grocery stores and institutional purchasers. Some markets were created or assisted by anti-poverty agencies seeking to provide low-priced produce in low-income neighborhoods. Organizers envisioned venues where farmers could sell their “extra” produce at near-wholesale prices.”
Whatever the cause, I agree that healthy eating is in the spotlight, and well it should be. With powerful corporations throwing their money around, people need to be vigilant. Corporations can’t make us eat their chemical-laced food products (and I’m not talking about sprays here, I’m talking about the ingredient list on packaged food!!), but they can influence our right to know.
In the Seed Savers Series, I write about a future where citizens have lost their right to garden, and the children don’t recognize real food anymore. In it, Gov-Ag has used food illness outbreaks as a way of regulating our rights away from us, and they have converted all the food into neatly packaged processed food groups as a way of preventing the financial loss associated with fresh produce. It’s a cautionary, yet hopeful tale. The most recent addition is Heirloom. Check it out.
And garden on.