2.14.2012

Full Circle

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The word "elitist" has been thrown around to describe the recent surge in foodie interests- farmers markets, artisanal cheeses, local microbrews, and seasonal ingredients just to name a few. But exactly how elitist is it to want to eat well and enjoy flavorful food?

On the surface, this movement does seem like it's exclusive to the upper class. $16 for a chunk of cheese the size of a door stop, $18 for a pound of locally produced honey, or $3 for a handful of heirloom grape tomatoes. Undeniably, these prices aren't affordable for everyone. But with some scrutiny, the picture of farm fresh produce, meats from small farms, and home-made treats is also undeniably proletarian.

A new career move has brought me to South LA. Many families I encounter on a daily basis lack the fundamentals- a home, medical insurance, job security, and reliable access to food. As I made the transition to my new job from a privileged community where my main concerns were membership recruitment for a food co-op start-up, blogging about nifty foodie gifts for the holiday, and frequenting specialty stores that carry quinoa pasta, reality slapped me hard on the first day of work. I was met by a man with an amputated leg asking for change on the freeway off-ramp. I learned that many of the children in the program have 1 or both parents in jail. Life is different here, and how can I bring the 2 worlds closer together?

The thing about these so called "trends" is that they're really a REsurgence. They were the way of life for hundreds of years before industrialization took over every facet of life. The basis of many of these farm fresh, artisanal items have roots in the commoners which included farmers who grew their own food or artisans who made their own breads. But for people with food insecurity living in impoverished neighborhoods, the skills of planting, preserving, and baking will not only increase access to food, but also help foster a sense of community and empower them to walk away from poverty.

Today marks HEALing Foodie's 2nd birthday. To get my blog a present, I was fortunate enough to have Cassie Tsang design the amazing new logo that you now see on the top left. And if there are candles on a virtual birthday cake, my wish will be for all of us to appreciate again the skills in ethical farming and craftsmanship in small-scale food production. Relationships between growers, artisans, and consumers should never be linear. Dare I even say we should overlap in those capacities, like the full circles in Venn diagrams.

5 comments:

meghan said...

Happy Birthday to the blog! When are we gonna get together so you can tell me all about your new job???

Terry said...

I like the logo...makes me think of the "fork in the road" over in Pasadena.

Stay safe down there...hope someone walks you to your car.

delwin said...

Excited to see the new business cards.

Elizabeth @ Eating Local in the Lou said...

Definitely food for thought- I'm certainly glad to have run across your blog. I look forward to reading more. (From, a fellow HEN Toolkit committee member who also blogs about local and sustainable eating)

AnnieR said...

Happy belated 2nd birthday! Looking forward to the toddler years of Healing Foodie :)

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