This Thanksgiving: What’s on Your Plate?

What’s on Your Plate?

By Jim Hightower

Make this Thanksgiving an occasion to celebrate our country’s food rebels!

Yes, rebels. People who dare to challenge the conventional wisdom and try to find a better way for doing something, even with the odds against them and the Powers That Be saying it won’t work. In this case, I’m talking about the growing movement of small farmers, food artisans, local retailers, co-ops, community organizers, restaurateurs, environmentalists, consumers and others — perhaps including you — who’ve planted and spread the rich ideas of sustainability, organic and local food marketing. This good food movement started at the fringe of our food economy, but is now mainstream.

It began as an “upchuck rebellion” — ordinary folks rejecting the industrialized, chemicalized, corporatized and globalized food system. Farmers wanted a more natural connection to the good earth that they were working and to their customers. Meanwhile, consumers began seeking edibles that were not saturated with pesticides, injected with antibiotics and sex hormones, ripened with chemicals, dosed with artificial flavorings and otherwise tortured.

In a remarkably short time, these two interests teamed up to create an alternative way of thinking about food. Rather than altering food to fit industry’s demand for quick profits, they altered the industry to focus on freshness, taste, nutrition and local economies. Today, more than 13,000 organic farmers produce everything from wheat to meat, and organic sales top nearly $27 billion. Some 7,000 vibrant farmers markets operate in practically every city and town across the land, linking farmers and food-makers directly to consumers in a local, supportive economy. Chefs, food wholesales, grocers and school districts are now buying foodstuffs that are produced sustainably and locally.

The shift did not come from any corporate or governmental powers — it percolated up from the grassroots. And it’s still spreading, as ordinary people learn about it, organize locally and assert their own democratic values over those of the corporate structure.

Family by family, town by town, this movement has changed not only the market, but also the culture of food — and that’s a change worthy of our thanks. In fact, why not celebrate it in a special way during this holiday season, or in any season. How? By having an earth dinner.

Not that you’d eat earth. Rather you would gather friend and family around the table for a unique dinner party in which people would not merely consume a bit of (or, a lot of) the bounty of our good, green earth — you would revel in the culture of food.   (Read Full Article)

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