Thanks to a growing national conversation about food as a political and social issue, there are a number of projects, initialtives, and efforts to get real food on the tables, and improve our gastronomic literacy. I’ve noticed a greater demand for more viable, sustainable alternatives to overpocessed, cheap, “just-fill-you-up” fare.
Three notable alternatives have caught my attention that are worth sharing:
1. Eat-Ins. An eat-in is a group of people gathering in a public place to share a meal. It’s a fabulous resource to get to know one’s neighbors, build commuity, and make a powerful staement. Slow Food USA, the global grassroot movement, has sponsored over 300 eat-ins nation-wide on Labor Day for the “Time For Lunch” campaign. September 7, 2009, has been marked as a Day of Action. You can still get involved by going to the website, and signing the petition to get real food back in the schools. The goal is 20,000 signatures for this petition, which has gone beyond the goal! These events are intended to send Congress a message–to provide U.S. schoolchildren with REAL food–making the time to invest in children’s health, and teach them lifelong habits about nutrition.
This is good for the kids, good for the farmers, and mostof all, good for the planet.
2. Food For All. An overview of food activism in all areas across the nation is the focus of The Nation magzine, titled “Food for All”, for Sept. 21, 2009. You can read selected pieces online on the website, or better yet, go to your local bookseller, and pick up a copy or two to keep.
The entire issue is packed with eye-opening facts and commentaries, such as Dave Murphy’s “An American Right to Food,” LaDonna Redmond on “Food and Freedom,” Alice Waters on edible education in the schools, and Pete Rothberg’s piece on “The Fight for Food,” which includes a list of 10 simple things we can do NOW. Among them: stop drinking soda, know where your food comes from, and eat at home more often than you eat out.
3. FOOD, Inc. Released in June, the critically-acclaimed documentary takes a no-excuses look at the corporate impact on what we eat. You’ll never view your plate the same way again. As the film moved from fast foods to farm foods, it was appalling to see how we’ve been duped to believe how all that over-processed mush is good for us. I just saw the film about two weeks ago, and it raised my awareness to a new level of , like the film tagline, being “hungry for change.” Make a concerted effort to see it when it comes to your area, and the great news is that on November 3, the home DVD edition will be available. There’s also an excellent companion book available that delves more deeply into the issues presented in the film