Are you changing the food system?

I’ve tried many times to write something like this. It’s always too strong, too personal, too vitriolic; something we don’t dare go on record saying. So I’ll let this other full-time farmer say it for me. Read it with an open mind, and try to see things from our side of the market table. One caveat, the shot at fancy restaurants isn’t fair to places like Sycamore, which take very seriously their commitment to local foods and farm-sourcing. Otherwise, I think it’s spot-on and would welcome some comments or constructive debate on its somewhat provocative argument.

4 thoughts on “Are you changing the food system?

  1. About 75% of our household food budget is spent on locally raised ingredients, either raised in the garden or bought at the market. The only things we buy regularly at the supermarket are nuts, oils, flour, and bananas. We will, however, eat Alaskan salmon in season, enjoy a square of Patric Madagascar chocolate, and drink wine from Europe. We don't and shouldn't feel the least bit guilty.The pleasure of good food doesn't get enough emphasis in the Changing-the-Food-System community. We should eat well, because it tastes better, and then we might just eat less, and more locally. The rant you link to is annoying, even if it says many good things. This isn't Lent, people.

  2. Frank,I hadn't taken it that way, though I see why it could be. There is definitely some tension between advocating overly-local (which can feel restrictive) vs. advocating good food from wherever it is best produced. Like you, we certainly use things like Lebanese olive oil, imported spices, and so on. Given your description of your household, I don't think that rant is aimed at you. I didn't take it to mean people should eat all-local and not buy anything else. I took it to mean that people who advocate for local foods should consider whether their actions back up their statements. Any piece like that is going to raise the hackles of anyone who already feels they're doing enough, and that's fair. I think the arguments raised in there should be taken to reflect a concern with society, not with individuals. I didn't link it to call out specific customers, only to raise the point that even among foodies there is still a long way to go before very many full-time farms can make a living through current local spending habits. The next post will contain some data from our area to loosely make this point, and should also not be taken as an accusation against any one person.Put it this way: I get a pretty regular trickle of folks who stop by the stand, admire it, and say something like "Oh, this is so pretty" or "It's so nice to see young organic farmers", and then walk out without buying anything. Sorry, but that means nothing to me. It's the purchase, of whatever size, that tells me someone values what we do. And that, I think, is what the other writer is getting at.

  3. I actually find this "do you really have the balls" thing annoying too. I started a response but it grew too long…blog post coming.Short version: We're starting from scratch here…give it some fricking time.