From the December 2007 Issue of ACRES USA: The Voice of
Eco-Agriculture, you can read an interview with one of the leading food critics, Michael Pollan. As organic and ‘local’ food metamorphicize into the public realm, critics like Pollan, need to put more pressure on larger food entities like Whole Foods that claim to support ‘sustainable’ food practices. I think also looking critically at what we mean by charged words such as ‘sustainable’, ‘local’, and ‘organic’ is equally as important. It’s dangerous to become detached from what actions we make based off of the words that the corporate media increasingly use.
Looking at the current local food movement holistically involves not only making the ‘right’ purchases towards what we deem ‘local’ or ‘organic’ but reflecting on everyone and everything that is a part of our food system. One of the ‘new?American Farmers’ that the Garden Cycles Bike Tour film explores is that of youth in urban and ‘underserved’ neighborhoods. Not only do these ‘food deserts’ that most of these youth come from lack fresh and affordable food, they also lack the attention from the public in the potential they have towards building a stronger local food network. All across the U.S., groups are forming to address food justice by developing programs to educate teenagers on how to grow food and sell at a market. Growing Power, a leading proponent of these efforts and the current sponsor of the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative, is featured in a Science Channel program on Monday night at 10:00PM Eastern time (9:00 Central, 8:00 Mountain, 7 PM Pacific). You can also find further examples in our upcoming trailer and Ethnographies! section of our site.
It’s also worth mentioning the potential to link these youth and their growing knowledge, on subjects such as seed saving and added value products, to building a stronger local economy within their neighborhoods. Van Jones, a vocal supporter of green collar job training, is interviewed in a recent article of Time magazine. He has been a leading example in Oakland, CA on how this can work, but what if we were to also extend it into the realm of growing food? Please share your thoughts on this ongoing, thick layered topic.