Monday, April 18, 2005

Socially Conscious Gluttony

Have you ever bit into a falafel sandwich and thought: "where did this food come from?"; "Who grew these delicious chick peas?"; "This tahini, its fantastic, but it wasn't made by God. Somebody must have raised the ingredients. Damn this is good, I think it was God"

Trying to conceive the origins of the foods we devour everyday is as horrifying as anything I want to think about. We try to avoid this thinking at all costs, but that fucking conscious keeps getting in the way. Whether we conjure up images of slaughterhouses from SInclair or Schlosser, or the "Weedpatch Camp" in Grapes of Wrath, or the heroic plight of chickens who risk it all to escape their terrible fates in 2000's Chicken Run, the source of our grub is not a pleasant subject.

I applaud Cornell University for forcing some young minds into meditating on the politics of food production in a course titled "Farmworkers." Prof. Ray Craib states the course's intent is to "break down the invisible walls between the university and the surrounding area." The class makes regular field trips to local farms where migrant workers and illegal aliens breakt their backs for a chance to provide us with Planter's peanuts.

Certainly we need more transparency in food markets, but I must admit I still eat Jello even after watching that dead horse get boiled down and his bones grinded into powder and mixed in with sugar and artificial coloring and flavoring.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Companies like Chipotle, have been marketing themselves as very meat-supplier conscious. Making sure their meat supply is only produced by hippy, communist, collective farms. Unfortunately, because of their size they have are starting to run out of such farms as the source of all their meat. While they don't publisize it, a lot of the meat no longer comes from the very sparse, free-range, holistic animal farms.

There's an article in the NY times magazine (subscription required) that has exact stats regarding how much of the meat at chipotle is still free-range - and it's rather low.

2:52 PM  

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