I haven't really been cooking since Thanksgiving for a couple of reasons. The first is that I've been swamped with work (which is a really good thing for our Little Agency That Could), but the second is because after I saw Food Inc., I've been rethinking everything about what we eat, what companies I want to support, and what I want my kids to know about food.
I want to say that I'm completely done with shopping for food in grocery stores. I want to say that 100% of our produce will come from small, organic farms with sustainable farming practices. I want to say that I'll only buy meat and poultry that is organic, pastured, and from farms who treat their workers with dignity and respect. I want to say that we'll immediately start barrel gardening on our back patio.
I want to say all these things and believe it can be a reality. That my insane schedule and our budget and our values can make this true. I just don't know how possible it will be, but I will try. This is my intention now and for the new year and forever.
The viewing of this movie (and my subsequent devouring of Joel Salatin's Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal) are just the most recent forms of media that are informing my decision. This revelation has been a long time in the making. First there was Upton Sinclair, John Robbins, Alice Waters, and Cesar Chavez. There was Angelo Pellegrini, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Barbara Kingsolver. There was Sicko and Capitalism: A Love Story and King Corn.
There was the Slow Food movement and Greens and living in Portland and remembering my own family food values--how I was raised--beginning with all the gardens we had when I was a kid. Wherever we lived, my mom planted a garden. From Hawaii to California to Oregon, our houses had gardens. I remembered eating arugula from our garden in Hawaii when I was just a kid, when no one knew was arugula was. I thought about the running joke in our family about how someone always found a worm in their salad. How my mom always made her spaghetti sauce from scratch. I never tasted sauce from a jar until I was an adult.
It's no trouble for me to shop at my local farmer's market. It's 3 blocks from my house, every Saturday morning. There is a sustainable beef seller there as well as a fishmonger, and egg, cheese, and olive oil vendors. I just need to do it more. We need to accept that, yes, it's more expensive, but it's a sacrifice we're ready and willing to make.
I am even going one step further. For a week now, I've been researching pastured chicken CSA shares because I will never eat another commercially grown chicken again. I'm even more excited about the sheep's milk, yogurt, cheese, and lamb CSA that J. and I gifted each other for our 15 year anniversary. We should be getting those first batches of cheese and yogurt in early spring.
If you haven't seen the Food Inc., I highly recommend it, but prepare yourself to be outraged and incensed--even if you thought you already knew how scary the food industrial complex was. If you're afraid to watch it because of what you might learn, all the more reason to see it. None of us can afford to remain in the dark. You will never be able to hear the words Tyson, Cargilll, Swift, Monsanto, and Smithfield without having your blood boil. You will never look a bagged supermarket chicken or spinach or your holiday ham in the same way. After you watch it, let me know.
Of course, all of this thinking about food and where it comes from and how it gets to our dinner tables has me thinking about other things too. Like how my blog might be a platform for more good. How we can all work together to make sure that everyone can afford good, clean, food. I won't stop sharing my recipes or meal-planning with you, but suddenly, that's not enough.
It's a lot to consider at the end of the year when my brain is so full of work and planning for the holidays in addition to keeping the day-to-day details that go along with raising a family in check, but I wanted to share what I've been thinking. And, of course, I'd be delighted if you shared what you've been thinking, too. Especially if and when you see the movie.