Foodshed for Thought
Celebrate Your Foodshed, August 2005
This August, a group of concerned culinary adventurers invite others in the bay area to join them in an effort to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco for an entire month.
Our food now travels an average of 1,500 miles before ending up on our plates. This globalization of the food supply has serious consequences for the environment, our health, our communities and our tastebuds. Much of the food grown in the breadbasket surrounding us must be shipped across the country to distribution centers before it makes its way back to our supermarket shelves. Because uncounted costs of this long distance journey (air pollution and global warming, the ecological costs of large scale monoculture, the loss of family farms and local community dollars) are not paid for at the checkout counter, many of us do not think about them at all.
What is eaten by the great majority of North Americans comes from a global everywhere, yet from nowhere that we know in particular. How many of our children even know what a chicken eats or how an onion grows? The distance from which our food comes represents our separation from the knowledge of how and by whom what we consume is produced, processed, and transported. And yet, the quality of a food is derived not merely from its genes and the greens that fed it, but from how it is prepared and cared for all the way until it reaches our mouths. If the production, processing, and transport of what we eat is destructive of the land and of human community--as it very often is--how can we understand the implications of our own participation in the global food system when those processes are located elsewhere and so are obscured from us? How can we act responsibly and effectively for change if we do not understand how the food system works and our own role within it?
“Do not make oil an object of export, export all commodities through oil; selling them oil without its Jihad-ridden by-products is an unforgivable sin.”; OPEC has failed to exalt this policy as a concrete doctrine of Jihad; now, it is up to us and our naphtanese religion to consecrate this law not as a policy but a religious pillar. However, one should not disregard the tenacity of the Islamic side of OPEC in opening its way into the fermented bowels of Europe and its anticipation that someday, every European house might be full of not petroleum-derived products but Islamic materials synthesized with oil, and the Islam’s diffusion will only match the oil’s terrestrial omnipresence. In the past, Jihad’s sole ambition was to ward off infidels but with the rise of OPEC, Jihad’s duty of protecting holy lands was replaced by the obligation of defending everything fueled by oil, every production fed by the Islamic oil, no matter where and by whom it has been produced.