Does our food define us? Does it define us as a family, a community, a state, a nation? Can we define our culture by the food we eat? If we could, what would that tell us? These are not easy questions to answer. And, what kind of answers would we give to these questions? Types of food? How we prepare the food? How often we eat? By our health numbers like blood pressure, insulin spikes, or cholesterol? Or, by cancer, obesity, or mental health?
In many ways Americans have access to the healthiest food systems anywhere. For one, because we have a lot of resources. For another, because of the many different ethnic influences that have shaped this nation. Oh, the choices. Every ethnic group has brought a part of their culture and food with them and today, because of our global economies, we have access to it. And, I believe, our taste palette likes the new flavors and our mind is excited to try new things.
Of course, if we are what we eat, then our health will also inform us as to what we believe about food. Everyone I know believes that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables. Everyone I know also knows, and correctly, that a whole host of today’s maladies are attributed to “lifestyle” choices–not drinking enough water, eating too much sugar, eating bad carbs, not eating fruit and vegetables, or not getting enough sleep.
Sadly, the American mentality towards food and health is, “I can have my cake and eat it, too.” And we believe this about foods we “know” are not good for us. But, because our bodies are so resilient, we borrow against the future. Our future health bill as a nation is coming due and for some, it is already personally coming due.
For us as a nation, a community and as individuals, this trend can change and has to change, but it will only do so one bite at a time. One determined bite at a time that sends a message to the institutional food system, “You can’t have my money or my health!”
As a local farmer and business owner, I want my contribution to the local food culture to be life giving and life changing. It makes my life work more meaningful knowing that I am working with nature to grow food for local people who are defined by not “only” what they eat, but by where they choose to source their food.
Together we are building a healthy food micro-culture.