The 25$ Food Challenge
Learn more about The 25$ Food Challenge
As I engage in conversations with people about the politics of food there seems to be a recurring theme. It appears that as long as the general masses have access to cheap food, few are going to complain about the sorry state of affairs in our current food production and distribution system.
This is especially apparent when looking at the “occupy” protests sweeping the country right now. The link between freedom, democracy and economics and how food is produced and distributed seems to be ignored by most of the protestors. As explained in the following excerpt from a post in “Civil Eats”, most people just don’t see the connection:
“I went to the Occupy Wall Street march last week, as part of the NYC food justice delegation. We carried baskets of farmers’ market vegetables and signs reading “Stop Gambling on Hunger” and “Food Not Bonds.” Food justice advocates came out from around the city—urban farmers, gardeners, youth, professors, union members, and community organizers. The vegetables attracted a lot of attention. Food so often attracts a lot of attention—the New York Times is just one of the outlets to focus in recent days on the makeshift kitchen at Zuccotti Park. What was more surprising were all of the puzzled looks we got from the bloggers, photographers, and other marchers who wanted to talk to us. “What’s the connection here with food?” we were asked many times.”
The food that many people eat in this country, most of the time, is pretty much devoid of nutrients and is filled with preservatives, sweeteners, and other items that add texture and flavor to otherwise nasty stuff. This is not brain food, folks. This is the type of food that makes one want to sit down and watch TV. And watch TV we do. Meanwhile we are losing our rights to food freedom, losing our connection to the land, and getting fatter and unhealthier than any civilization in history.
When a civilization is starving, the masses stand up and fight. This concept is well-understood by those who control those said masses. They know all too well that as long as the majority of the people have enough food to eat then they will usually tolerate the status quo. If that means they live rather simply but have their basic needs met, then that is fine. But when kids start dying from hunger, people tend to take notice of the inequalities inherent in pretty much every society. And it makes them mad! Why should their kid be dying when there are people out there who have enough money to buy 4 mansions, 10 cars and 2 boats?! Hence the amazingly cheap production and distribution of food in our country today.
The idea that we can return to an agrarian-based, local economy society seems pretty far-fetched. But as the seams of our society continue to disintegrate, and more and more people begin to wake up to not only the economic inequality but also the injustice in our food system, things may move more and more in that direction.
On a personal level, for a long time I have had a desire to help those who are supposedly not able to eat local, real food. I have wondered, is it true, are these people truly forced to eat only processed crap food? Or do they have choices? That has led me to create The 25$ Food Challenge. I am going to see for myself if it is possible to eat well on 25$ for a week (which will translate to 100$ for my family).
And I hope to get plenty of donations for this effort. The donations will go toward buying food from a local farm (thereby supporting a local farm) for families that are in need in Rockland County, NY. I hope to bring awareness to the fact that it is hard for a lot of people to eat good food. It is hard for them to afford it, hard for them to find it and hard for them to prepare it. If in this process I can relate a little bit to what that is like, and learn some creative ways to increase the amount of high-quality food in the diet of someone on a tight budget, that would be great!