By Dana Ferrante ’17
This past week, I had to write a manifesto as part of a course about youth protest in Europe during 1968. Having read everything from anarchist memoirs to situationist leaflets, we were asked to use the ideas, language, and rhetorical styles of these sources to create a manifesto about a topic of our choosing. Naturally, I chose to write mine about the food system. If you’d like to learn more about actual (and less accusatory/radical) plans that are currently in the works, check out the Massachusetts Food System Plan, as well as the Food Better Campaign going on here at Harvard.
A specter is haunting our stomachs: the specter of what locavore’s call “carelessness.” This specter has not appeared out of thin air—it is the inevitable consequence of the present culture of instant-gratification and ignorance, perpetuated by people across the globe. It was born at a time when the advancing industrial society quickened the speed and immediacy of life, forcing our food system to follow suit. And yet this society is irrational as a whole. How do people expect something that grows in the summer to be on their plates year round? Why do the eggs in the grocery store come from across the country, instead of from the farm right down the road? We all bear responsibility for the present state of affairs, and it is because of this that we must commit ourselves to change —for ourselves, for future generations, and for the sake of the global environment.
- Whoever does not consider what they eat, where it comes from, and how it is produced, remains ignorant of one of the most essential aspects of his or her well-being and that of society as a whole.
- These are called One-Dimensional Eaters.
- As the shelves of our supermarkets become fuller each year, food has become less of a source of sustenance or means to survive. Today, it is a commodity, and the global population is compelled to consume far more than it needs.
- This generation now prefers the copy to the original, the appearance of culture, fake food to the authentic recipes. Time and effort have gone by the wayside, and only the illusion of freshness and culture is satiating.
- Without farmers, there would be no more food.
- The general separation of food production and the consumer has made us blind to the people and energy that it takes to get dinner on the table each night. Society now demands speed, while food requires exactly the opposite: patience.
- Through this, society as a whole has forsaken the importance of the home-cook. This is both the result and the cause of the on-going food illiteracy.
Therefore, the locavores propose:
- To inform the population of the real environmental and societal situation created by our ignorance of the food system
- To become more conscientious of where our food comes from and how it is produced
- To eat locally and seasonally, therefore supporting local agriculture
- To slow down our consumption and reintroduce patience to the consumer
- To initiate a home-cook movement
- To work with producers, business owners, food system stakeholders, and consumers to find out how the food system can be improved
- To teach the newest generations to eat according to region, season, and availability, as our ancestors did
- To eliminate one-dimensional eaters