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The debate rages

April 25, 2012

Locavores are snobs. The people who are interested in getting healthy food are guilty of elitism.

Really? I’m having a bit of trouble with this one.

What part of the brain understands if you eat empty chemicals (pink slime, anyone?) that you are not getting good nutrition? Is that snobbery? Or common sense?

About 15 years ago some chefs started connecting with local farmers to obtain fresh food for their restaurants. Diners responded well, enjoying full flavored meals and willing to pay a bit more for it. Maybe that was snobbery? Or willingness to pay for high value?

Nicer grocery stores tend to be located in well off neighborhoods in large metropolitan areas. I have been fortunate to have lived in a lot of places in this nation and know that many many small towns and cities do not have access to a Whole Foods store, but they have better access to really amazing foods than the best neighborhood in major cities.

Why? Simply, the farmers are still nearby. Is visiting their farms and buying fresh food snobbery?  Or is it a way to obtain fresh food in season while supporting a small family business?

We’re losing more of them each day, but an amazing bunch of people are holding on, or even starting second and third careers when many others head to their porch rocking chairs in retirement. I have been amazed at the dedicated and highly educated farmers I have been meeting here in West Virginia.

Small farms are not money makers. These people work long hours before and after another job that pays the bills. They want to live on the land. They want to share what they can with us. It is fair to pay them.

Not snobbery but recognition of high value for health….my body’s and my economy’s. It means shifting HOW I spend money on my nutrition.

How about you? Or are you a reverse snob? Not going to join in so you will complain about it? Why? What is holding you back?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ariella permalink
    April 25, 2012 8:56 am

    I don’t really feel like a snob when I talk to my Raleigh friends about local, sustainable food because they all eat like that too. But when I talk to my friends from New York, people who have access to good food, but little of it is actually local, I feel a bit snobby. My friends and family tease me about my local eggs and my local butter and my bread making. Though it’s all in good fun, I feel a little bit like a snob. And it’s crazy because I’m far from it.

    When I hear about the added cost of going local, I laugh. My husband and I live on a $60 a week food budget because we make $24,000 a year combined. This is significantly less than a lot of my friends. But somehow, we tend to eat better than they do. We make other financial sacrifices. No iPhones, cable or expensive clothing.

    Local food isn’t about being rich, because we are clearly not, but it is about access. If we lived in the poorer part of town and didn’t have a car, it would be very difficult to eat the food that we do today. That’s why I think urban farms and community gardens are so important.

    -Ariella from Flying the Nest

    • April 25, 2012 9:22 am

      My CSA delivers to my door. Another drops eggs 1 block from my house. I live in middle America, a small city of less than 50,000 in the Ohio River Iron Rust Belt in West Virginia. There is public transportation here and walking to one of the weekly seasonal farmers stands is 10 blocks. Yet there is a way to get to McDonalds and the local supermarket I suppose. Access can be improved in some areas, but in many others it is still a choice.

  2. April 25, 2012 9:58 pm

    I might shave said the folks looking for the local or the organic were elitists until we decided to farm and started trying to learn about our food system. Now I just call them enlightened!

    • April 26, 2012 4:57 am

      What you do is very hard work and the risk of failure is high because of uncontrolled issues like the weather or foraging wildlife. As I meet the farmers I visit I am impressed by the dedication and commitment they have.

  3. April 25, 2012 10:27 pm

    There is absolutely nothing as good as food picked when it’s ripe, that hasn’t had to travel untold miles. I don’t care if folks think me a snob, that’s the way I want to eat. Local as much as possible, in season also whenever possible and fresh and delicious. I intend to support and encourage the amazing folks who are willing to put in the hard work and know-how of providing me with the best there is.

    • April 26, 2012 5:00 am

      This locavore concept is growing and it will become more pervasive as the supply gets into the community better. This USED to be the way we all ate. Then we built highways and railroads and airplanes and it was an advancement to bring in strawberries in the winter. Now, it is so common that the concept of eating local needs people to think. But our grandparents generation knew it well. So, if it was everywhere done by everyone before, what makes it so unique now? Choice…and many people just do what is easy and known and don’t like to make changes.

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