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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A food revolution on the horizon

The press has had a field day (pun intended) lately with the story of the White House vegetable garden. I guess it's an upbeat alternative to the usual stories of economic downfall and the world's impending doom.

Besides applauding efforts by the Obamas to make healthy eating and sustainable agriculture a part of a national conversation, I'm also heartened by reports that this may prompt millions of Americans to plant their own gardens and/or buy locally-grown, organic foods when possible.

Alice Waters, the "mother" of the slow food movement, gave a fascinating interview on 60 Minutes recently discussing her beliefs about how eating locally-grown foods can make a difference:

This New York Times column asks the question: "Is a food revolution now in season?" The answer is YES. I especially love this quote from Senator Tom Harkin:

“We bend the track a little bit and get the train going in a little bit different direction,” he says. “We’re hoping we can bend it a little bit more. Consumers are demanding it.”

My eyes opened wide after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, both of which completely changed the way I saw food. Now I'm much more conscious of what I'm buying and eating. One of my biggest complaints about grocery shopping in Korea is that I'm never sure how many or what kinds of chemicals are in my food, and whether things are actually organic (since 88% of "organic" foods in Korea are actually not).

Forget about locally-grown -- I wouldn't even know how to ask!

It will be nice to go home and have farmers markets and Whole Foods, which now labels and advertises locally-grown products, within walking distance. Until then, I'm going to see if it's possible to find seeds somewhere in Seoul and grow herbs on my balcony.

Who knew this city girl would become such a wannabe farmer?

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED Omnivore's Dilemma and actually got my vegetarian coworker to read it. I even did my junior english thesis on how much of a scam the organic food industry is. I can't speak for Korean, as far as American food goes anyone can call anything organic even when it's not as long as they don't say it's USDA APPROVED organic when it's not (e.g. Giant's Nature's Promise line - total scam). So only buy USDA approved organic products otherwise you're just paying more for no reason at all.