Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

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Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:23 am

I think some of you will find the following Guardian article of interest which is a crituqie of the modern "food revolution" and the rise of "foodie" culture. Working with food in an educational setting the inconsistencies and paradoxes of "ethical" and "sustainable" food production is something that i am increasingly aware of and uncomfortable with.

Then there's organic food. The tech spec of organic food – the fact that nothing synthetic is used in its production – suggests flavour, nutritional value and agricultural ethics. But it has become a devalued, mass-market symbolic indicator. Organics are promoted as both available to all and a luxury treat, but often they're more expensive and they taste the same. And they're not even necessarily good for the environment, either. Increasing demand has led to organic meat being raised on vast industrial feed lots, and the scarcity of organic ingredients means they are flown around the world. Research sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed that the production of a litre of organic milk requires 80% more land than conventional milk. And that organically reared cows burp and fart twice as much methane as conventionally reared cattle, which would be amusing if it weren't for the fact that methane is 20 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2.

https://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/l ... ion-glaser

As always, your on-topic responses are most welcome.

Ben
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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:42 am

Hi, Ben,
There's certainly a lot of hijacking going on - clean/green/sustainable/organic being sold as luxury, as an element of the 'conspicuous consumption' lifestyle that contributes excessively to environmental destruction.
Parallel to that, there is all the gastro-porn: celebrity chefs, 'eating your way along the Silk Road', that sort of thing.
And they, in turn, feed the obesity epidemic.
:thinking:

I don't know where to start tackling the problem - maybe we have to start anywhere and everywhere, as we need to do in combatting global warming. For me, that means eating as fresh, as seasonally and as locally as I can, cutting back on meat (environmentally expensive as well as un-Buddhist), and making baby steps towards growing my own food in my spare time. It's all common sense but, as we know, common sense ain't all that common.

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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby rowboat » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:58 am

A Facebook account is required to read the article posted in the OP. Here is a direct link to the article for those without a Facebook account: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... ion-glaser
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:26 am

Greetings,

Kim O'Hara wrote:I don't know where to start tackling the problem

It is sukha for it not to be a problem.

It seems the problem lies with the diversity in human greed and guilt... and the fact these two factors aren't bundled up in equal measures in human beings.

Metta,
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If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby ground » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:37 am

Sustainability begins when eating of animal products ceases and food revolution begins when seeking taste ceases.

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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:46 am

TMingyur wrote: seeking taste ceases.
That will never happen.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:24 am

A former soil-science prof at our local agricultural university used to get extremely frustrated with the "organic" manifesto. New Zealand has all kinds of nutrient deficiencies due to the geology (volcanic plateau in the North Island, other issues in the South), and successful agriculture is only possible because of the research that figured out what was required to balance the nutrients. He was all for using organic methods as much as possible, but to take the position that "pure organic" is "better" than adding necessary nutrients is just posturing.

I went to an interesting talk a couple of years ago about research on using particular flowers to attract natural predators (to reduce pesticide use). This is an idea that has been around for a while, but apparently not much research has been done and most of the folklore about it is not very accurate, so he wasn't particularly enthusiastic about "organic" manifestos. His hope was for horticultural industries here, such as wine, to be able to be completely pesticide free, which would be quite impressive...

:anjali:
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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby ground » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote: seeking taste ceases.
That will never happen.

I cannot help you.

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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:34 am

TMingyur wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote: seeking taste ceases.
That will never happen.

I cannot help you.

Kind regards
I did not ask for your help, but given the nature of taste and food, the ceasing of taste is not going to happen forthe population as a whole, which was my point.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:45 am

Hi Kim,
Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, Ben,
There's certainly a lot of hijacking going on - clean/green/sustainable/organic being sold as luxury, as an element of the 'conspicuous consumption' lifestyle that contributes excessively to environmental destruction.
Parallel to that, there is all the gastro-porn: celebrity chefs, 'eating your way along the Silk Road', that sort of thing.
And they, in turn, feed the obesity epidemic.
:thinking:

Yes, that is one of the points that the article makes quite nicely. I am at the proverbial "coalface" by providing and profiling different types of international, seasonal and healthy food within an educational setting. I am becoming more and more uncomfortable regarding some of the expectations from staff to provide certain brands of food because of the assumptions they have that its greener, more environmentally friendly, more ethical. A classic example is a long running request to not buy any products with palm sugar (growth in palm sugar plantations are cited as a threat to orang utang populations). The fact is, there still isn't legislation in Australia that requires food manufacturers to declare palm sugar and so most of it goes under the radar. On top of that, I am also required to buy huge volumes of chocolate (as a snack item) which even the fair trade variety uses enforced child labor to harvest the cocoa. And the fact that chocolate represents thousands of carbon kilometres. When I raised this with the staff, it was clear their attachment to chocolate was far greater than their desire to be ethical.

Kim O'Hara wrote:I don't know where to start tackling the problem - maybe we have to start anywhere and everywhere, as we need to do in combatting global warming. For me, that means eating as fresh, as seasonally and as locally as I can, cutting back on meat (environmentally expensive as well as un-Buddhist), and making baby steps towards growing my own food in my spare time. It's all common sense but, as we know, common sense ain't all that common.

Yes, it is difficult. I guess we need to wise-up to the deception that is going on in the marketplace and make purchasing decisions with that in mind. Reducing meat consumption is a good idea as it is so resource intensive. I do recommend that you have a go at growing your own. Its a bit of work but...so rewarding. I wish I had photos of the vegie and herb gardens at campus. I mostly planted them out and despite being largely reliant on rain during summer, it has been incredibly productive.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:49 am

mikenz66 wrote:A former soil-science prof at our local agricultural university used to get extremely frustrated with the "organic" manifesto. New Zealand has all kinds of nutrient deficiencies due to the geology (volcanic plateau in the North Island, other issues in the South), and successful agriculture is only possible because of the research that figured out what was required to balance the nutrients. He was all for using organic methods as much as possible, but to take the position that "pure organic" is "better" than adding necessary nutrients is just posturing.

I went to an interesting talk a couple of years ago about research on using particular flowers to attract natural predators (to reduce pesticide use). This is an idea that has been around for a while, but apparently not much research has been done and most of the folklore about it is not very accurate, so he wasn't particularly enthusiastic about "organic" manifestos. His hope was for horticultural industries here, such as wine, to be able to be completely pesticide free, which would be quite impressive...

:anjali:
Mike


Yes, I understand. I was asked to implement a permaculture design that was totally inappropriate for the climate, conditions and aspect of our vegetable garden. Expectations of maintaining it as an organic vegie garden was unrealistic given the proclivity of vast numbers of weeds that grow like triffids and the small amount of time I could devote to the garden. Thankfully, agricultural science has come a long way and has developed some decent solutions to otherwise backbreaking, monotonous and time consuming activities such as manual weeding.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby ground » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:40 am

tiltbillings wrote:I did not ask for your help, but given the nature of taste and food, the ceasing of taste is not going to happen forthe population as a whole, which was my point.


I see. "The population as a whole" actually is not within my scope - that is where the misunderstanding may have arisen from.

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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:58 am

Well it should be. Marie Antoinette is not a Buddhist role model.
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Re: Is the food revolution just a great big fat lie?

Postby ground » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:11 am

Sanghamitta wrote:Well it should be. Marie Antoinette is not a Buddhist role model.

You should quote. In case your remark refers to my post my answer is:

No.

The Buddha was a pragmatist. Not a world saviour.

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