For the last few weeks when I've tried to sit down to write in this space, I've had writer's block and couldn't figure it out. Was I putting pressure on myself to write perfect pieces? Pinterest-worthy pieces and shareable pieces?
Listening to an interview with Mark Bittman a few days ago, I realized why I've been fumbling. In his interview he was asked about the current political climate, and if food is an issue worth pursuing. While he said food may not be a major issue right now, we need to focus on the environment, and we can choose small components of the food movement to focus on, like stopping the advertising of sugary drinks towards children.
The times have changed in the last two weeks. I haven't wanted to get political, but here's the thing — food is political, farming is political, and they're both tied to the environment and health, which are big time political.
I could say nothing, writing about how I pine for local food and farmers' markets, but that wasn't sitting well with me. I have this space, and I have a voice and opinions. I care about food and supporting farmers and the policies behind them both, but the more important piece behind it is protecting the environment and shifting our cultural views.
I first got into food back in 2000, when I was in college and vegan and working on a small (not certified) organic farm. The farm I worked on was small and couldn't afford to pay the hefty USDA fees to become "certified" organic, even though they were organic in practice. We talked about the evils of Monsanto and their genetically modified Roundup products. I learned about a canola farmer in Canada who was being sued by Monsanto for having found Roundup canola plants on his land. And I learned firsthand what it's like to grow food for people, especially on the days I worked the Saratoga farmers' market.
This first farming experience opened my eyes to a whole side that I hadn't been exposed to before, which is a big part of why I care about real food, farms, and healthy eating: the environment. Food may seem like a small issue, yes, but it is completely intertwined with policy and politics relating to the planet, and our health.
In this space I'm going to keep talking about how we can support local farms, but know that I'm doing so with a bigger lens, a bigger purpose.