Monday, June 14, 2004

food and farming

In a back issue of the Snail (the Slow Food USA newsletter), Corby Kummer had an interesting interview with Myrtle Allen, who started a restaurant at Ballymaloe House in County Cork in 1964. She talked about how local farmers woud show up at their door with produce, for which she paid what she thought it was worth (as a cook and a farmer herself, she had a pretty good idea). It is amazing how shocking this idea was then (and now, notwithstanding "fair trade") -- Allen connects it to a historical Quaker ethics to try to explain it, which seems a pretty complicated way to make a simple logical connection.

The degree to which soi-disant "foodies" still remain oblivious to or uninterested in their object choice's means of production continues to amaze me. It is 2004, after all, and you would think that "It's the ingredients, stupid" would have sunk in after 30 years. So, thinking about the radically archaic idea that things should cost what they're worth, I assembled the following semi-random links: Wisconsin family farms and the fancy Chicago restaurants that buy their food; The Essential Agrarian Reader, The Fate of Family Farming; the most important part of Slow Food, the Foundation for Biodiversity, now has its own website.

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