By Lou Aronson
Today we launch a new category on Votifi: FOOD
Says you: “What in the world?!”
Quite simply, or at least it became simple to us when brought to our attention, food dominates politics in a way that very few other topics actually do. Food cuts across boundaries and issues. Be clear: whether you vote for Obama or Romney, odds are you have eaten something today. And, for-or-against marriage equality? Obamacare? the DREAM Act? Isn’t it always better to discuss over a meal?
This week the Farm Bill comes back up for a vote. 230 years ago (in 1782) Thomas Jefferson observed that Virginia’s wealthy class ate fresh vegetables, but the poor did not, which he said was an “inexcusable” state of affairs. More than 200 years later food inequality is still a sad reality. A short walk up and down the aisles of Whole Foods compared to a neighborhood grocery store in some parts of Washington DC confirms the myth that the affluent get to eat “good calories” while the poor are stuck with processed food and “empty calories”. In a democracy, eating well has never been a privilege of the masses.
Food matters the way issues matter.
About a month ago we were fortunate enough to meet world famous chef Jose Andres (@chefjoseandres) who asked us one simple question: All things being equal would you rather have a $3 cantaloupe or a $10 one? After giving the obvious answer, he retorted “you want to tell me immigration reform doesn’t matter?”
Clearly we were remiss in thinking that life is all about campaign finance reform, cutting the federal budget deficit, foreign policy and what to do about education reform. Whether it’s buying produce from local farmers over chain supermarkets, questioning the nutrition of your child’s school lunches, or protesting because your Big Gulp is banned in NYC, as Americans we are not only what we eat, but also how we eat.
The Washington Post published an essay tracking the production of a hamburger from start to eventual finish at a July 4th barbeque. In celebrating America’s independence, however, consuming the average hamburger can be downright un-American. As odd as this sounds the author of that essay, Tracie McMillan (@TMMcMillan), had a great point we should all appreciate.
We offer you a new prism. A new view to yourself and how politics interacts with your daily lives.
Here’s to a new take on politics in America and we invite you to start digesting questions in the Food category.