I Do Like Green Eggs and Ham
Much of what we’ve addressed on this blog has focused on the epidemiological dangers of industrial farming. But what of the alternatives? Can we farm in another way? Is another world possible?
It’s only since I’ve moved to the Midwest that I’ve learned that not only is that world possible, it’s growing right out from underneath the dried and dead soil laid atop agribusiness’s stronghold. A mob of thousands of new organic farmers have taken up pitchforks and torches against Frankenfood. Farmers’ markets are popping up all over. Food co-ops are blooming in even some of the smallest towns across the Upper Midwest.
Many of my brethren on the coasts–who I’ve now taken to calling ‘the flyovers’–are largely unawares of a new agricultural uprising that could strike at the very heart of the agribusiness model now dominating global production. For reasons we will explore in posts to follow there is no guarantee that the revolt will succeed. Many serious obstacles remain. But by much blood and sweat, acre by acre, store by store, kitchen by kitchen, real food and home cooking are making a comeback.
Why the bother? Why struggle against the Food Empire? The best place to start may be the end: what does a meal of locally grown organic meat and vegetables look and smell like? Putting aside nutrition and politics, putting aside all expectations about what socially conscious food means, putting aside the ridiculous amount of work involved, how does the food taste? Once we can identify a destination–delicacies any and all Americans deserve on a regular basis–all arguments that follow shift to the ways we can get more people there.
I remember my first simple grass-fed burger here. Bodily fluids were mixed: I cried salty tears into the burger’s juices. I was tasting beef for the very first time. All else, many hundreds of patties over nearly four decades, were but a prelude of corn-fed cardboard. Veggies and fruit and cheeses? Similar revelations. There’s nothing so viscerally convincing as an argument for a new agriculture than a damn good meal shared al fresco among the evening fireflies with good friends and a good regional beer.
So join us. Bring a dish. You will have some work to do too. Cut veggies, wash some dishes, babysit, or top off the first round. Otherwise, get the fuck out of the kitchen and go blab with some other guest waiting outside in the yard. Let the artist finish preparing tonight’s gift.