In a seemingly hopeless commentary in the Sun New York Times, Minimalist columnist Mark Bittman lamented everything that’s wrong with the commercial food system, noting the “dominance of hyper-processed, industrialized” food that’s causing many of the nation’s health problems. It’s an appropriate (and familiar) frustration.
Nonetheless, he was able to find so many things (and people and organizations) to be hopeful for and positive about in the American food culture.
There are innumerable food assistance orgs serving low-income people. There are “more than half as many farmers’ markets as there are McDonald’s… and fantastic groups like Wholesome Wave are making them more affordable.” (Wholesome Wave “fosters strong linkages between local agriculture and under-served communities.” Their goal “is a more vibrant and equitable food system for all people.”)
There are journalists, chefs, cookbook authors, food critics, social justice writers, humane societies, family farmers, organic growers, specialty producers, food safety experts and bloggers (!), all attempting to tilt the scale in favor of our greater self-sufficiency and education in the ways of growing and eating.
So, there’s much to be optimistic about in thinking about food. We’ll continue to watch who and what is on the leading edge of the nationwide shift into a healthy, sustainable food culture. It’s an amazing ride.