Sunday, September 21, 2008

Food for thought

On Saturday, I volunteered at the Food for Thought festival, as I did in 2006 and 2007 - this year I coordinated a cake decorating contest. It was a blast. The entries were a chocolate cake decorated with local berries, and stuck together with locally made jam; a carrot cake (locally grown carrots, and cream cheese in the frosting) decorated with fondant vegetables; and a local butternut squash mousse cake, topped with local raspberries - purchased at the farmers' market mere minutes before they went on the cake.

Susie Feest's cake

Georgia Finnerty's cake

Megan Stowell's cake

The evening before, there was the Friday forum, with farmer/author Michael Ableman, chef Dave Swanson and farmer Kay Jenson from JenEhr Farm.

Ableman spoke again on Saturday, and one of his points was that all that us local eaters, farmers' market shoppers, food co-op and CSA members, are doing is good, but not enough - the whole local food movement will not be successful until more lower income people are involved and served by it. I agree with him, although it seems a little too close to the anti-organic argument, that we can't afford to feed the world with organic farming - factory farming with it chemical inputs and controlled outputs, that feeds into the food processing industry that pumps out whatever it is, 2,000 excess calories per person in the US per day, in cheap corn syrup and potato chips, is the only way to feed everyone - although I do not understand how an industry that takes real food like potatoes and corn and turns it in to corn syrup and french fries and chips, can be seen as producing nutrition. It's kinda like how can John McCain say that people like Barak Obama have caused the current UW financial crisis, when he is a member of the de-regulating Republican party that has been in for the last 8 years ...

But that's another story, and I was talking about Abelman - he said another thing that I agreed with even more, which was that the food system is broken, or at least cracking, but we will not see real significant change until the impact on individuals, "personal impacts" in Abelman's words, are a lot more uncomfortable. Gas is now $4 per gallon; organic milk's more like $6 - wonder what that personal un-comfort breaking point will turn out to be - maybe it won't be the price of food, but rather ability to purchase good, clean food - when that's gone, maybe more people will be calling for reform.

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