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Food righteousness

(article, Culinate staff)

On Grist lately, food editor Twilight Greenaway pondered whether righteousness was crippling the food-reform movement. Not necessarily the old problem of elitism, although that's related. Rather, Greenaway wanted to point out the negative side to America's traditional pride in individualism:

bq. There will generally always be someone, if not many people, there to tell us that this or that huge systematic problem shouldn’t bother, let alone interest, them because they’ve already taken their “five easy steps” to fix it on a personal level. And more often than not, I find that people’s gut responses to stories that fall into the “food politics” category fail to reflect the fact that food is both personal and the product of industry, public policy, and a whole host of systems that we have the opportunity to look critically at (and, in doing so — ideally — change). . . . I’d argue that if we practice the former without the latter, sooner or later we’ll end up in a safe but limiting cul-de-sac where very little actually happens.

In other words, why worry about the food system affecting other people? After all, the righteous are busy shopping at farmers markets and growing their own food and all that good stuff. As Greenaway concluded, "If we’re talking about, say, the consolidation of the milk industry (because yes, if you know me, that does happen), please don’t turn to me and say, 'I don’t drink milk,' as if it’s going to put an end to our conversation."