With the publishing of Michael Pollan’s unintentional mission statement “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” in 2006, interest in the local food movement has exploded over the last 3 years. Across the country, many different factions of farmers and eaters began to take a critical look at what they ate and where it came from.
But still in its infancy, the movement is endangered of being defined by its own extremes. Stories about local food that float into popular culture often focus on the efforts of the wealthy, featuring recently retired corporate executives buying up old farm houses and producing goat’s milk cheese or local high-profile chefs taking up the food-to-table cause. Outside of our own Atlanta, Serenbe sits as an upper-class community/utopia focused as much on food sustainability as on the principles of New Urbanism.
And while these high-profile efforts remain vital components of a larger picture, four-star restaurants and $4 heirlooms are often mistaken as the end goal of foodies everywhere.
Luckily, that’s not true.
The end goal is actually a lot more complicated and a lot less Utopian. This month Mother Jones magazine details the struggle of locovores nationwide as they turn their attention away from their own habits and toward the habits of our agriculture policy. While the first step was personally enlightening, the second is bound to be a seemingly endless slog through the mud of agribusiness subsidies.
And while this effort won’t provide as many great garden photo-ops or opportunities to sample great cuisine, it should never be forgotten that this is ultimately the more important and impactful goal of local food advocates everywhere.
Luckily, Pollan keeps reminding us of this.