I rarely step foot into a restaurant. My cooking skills stand at a novice level at best. Gourmet foods rarely enter my belly. I am not a foodie in the widespread sense of the word.
That noted, I find it difficult to shed the term. I think that I am a foodie in a different sense. And while I don’t want to compare apples to oranges, I think my take on being a foodie is perhaps more critical than the popularized version.
I believe America (primarily and for years) has been disrupting (and destroying) global food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and “waste” management to meet corporate-defined, American tastes for “food-like substances” at the expense of our natural world. And while I hope I am wrong, food production through monoculture, seed and soil depletion, excessive use of pesticides, migration of non-native pests due to climate change, and climate change itself will come to haunt us as the agriculture systems our corporations have set up will provide little defense for the reckoning that appears is not too far in our future — already-afoot changes in weather patterns (more droughts and deluges), foreign pests harvest disruptions, food shortages, and famines.
I believe in systemic solutions to systemic solutions. I think concerned citizens should be giving to the causes that take on these issues in the policy sense and engaging in citizen-based pressures on elected officials regarding answers ripe for the taking (pun intended). But I also feel that Americans have very little to personally base their fears — and hopes — for the future of food. For instance, many of us know very little about how much time and effort are put into producing the tomato we just discarded from our countertop. So, I believe we (as individuals and small communities) need to ground ourselves (pun, again, intended) in the process of natural food production.
Many people know I am an heirloom gardener seeking to inspire others to become ones through proselytizing and pictures. I believe, as modern-day agrarian Wendell Berry believes and frequently notes, we are not free if someone else controls where and how we get our food. So I want others to partially free themselves by learning how to garden with heirloom and open-pollinated seeds.
Will you be able to grow everything you need? Doubtful. But you’ll have helped yourself understand a process that will help base future personal and systemic advocacy needed for America and the world to dream up a different, more resilient food future.