The history of our food

Whenever we eat a piece of food, we took a bite of the planet. Small bites with conscience and history. An egg carton tells the story of hens happy or sad; a bottle of olive oil, of Italian grandmothers. But apart from these bucolic scenes hides a food system that leaves nearly one billion people die of hunger and overweight to another billion.

Eat World

All the food comes with a story to tell us, and almost always is the story we want to hear. In the supermarket are called "offer"; at the restaurant "menu of dishes" that can be served... where is the flavor and the origin of all this?

It happened already many decades ago, when my daughter had only three and a half months; I had read that it was time to "first mash of vegetables". Living in Iceland, little had to pick then, so I decided to make him one of canned peas. But she hated peas, and then to encourage her told her the story told to me by my grandmother When not wanted to eat. He picked a small bowl of olives and put it on the table, and bringing them to his hands took them as something magical: "Wait, wait - I said-, still do not eat it, I have to explain where it comes bread". The bread had been baked with wheat, which grew in my village in the South of Spain, and was not like that you could eat in Barcelona. Olives were of Jaén, and bread was ours. "Waiting, waiting, that I have to explain where the water comes". Then I took me like five minutes to listen to the stories of the banana, Mandarin orange from China or tomatoes of Morocco... Finally, he ate... knowing that each food had a history, and I was a girl avid for stories. The food was the story itself.

Today also has all the food that arrives at our table hidden history. We are looking for authentic and natural, stories like when people grew their own wheat. And that's what today we want to believe, and why we buy. My fridge smell "is natural", and coffee milk is"organic". And that red bell pepper so that I just bought, so bright that I almost hurt your eyes is authentic? That are looking for... but at the same time we eat more packaged than ever.

Misaligned of what we eat

The stories of our food reality mask something quite obvious: that our food is not organic. Easter chicks are the only ones that get rid of suffering. The reality of industrial agriculture that "to produce eggs", also suffering of millions of beings. Few know, for example, Bertolli olive oil which has a grandmother, pressing the olive, is not made by hand or is property of a small Italian Treasury, but Unilever Coorporation.

You could say that we are out of alignment of our food. We don't have no idea of what is inside the bag What we buy and eat, but at the same time we both idealize our imagination about how it is grown, how it is produced, how comes, that that happens to be our food. That is the reason why advertising uses "stories to sell us food". Because the distance between the agrarian and industrial reality is more distant than ever. Why did this happen?

The home of our global food system begins with the second world war and a very simple scheme: "No more hunger"; that was the slogan of the Western Governments. They focused on the mass production of food, reduction of costs and efficiency. Then came the fertilizer and everything changed very fast. The levels of world agricultural production doubled between 1948 and 1980. Liberalization, the increase in trade, globalisation... and the sky's the limit: apples from New Zealand, Brazil beef, prawns from the Pacific.

When we eat we give shape to the landscape

Whenever you eat, you put a piece of the world on your palate. And from the moment that man ceases to be nomadic and becomes sedentary, with food, our snacks shape the landscape.

One wonders what should be the "ideal landscape" for food production in the 21st century, and if you have to be the same in the twentieth. But first and foremost the panorama should be able to reduce the gap between the traditional system and the production on a large scale, between the past and the biotechnology. This landscape must be able to integrate the countryside and the city, or at least approach These two realities. The landscape should be transparent, showing us where comes from what we eat, how many hours it took to produce that food, basic resources used. The source cannot be a question of uniformity; We must go prioritizing all lives equally, what's in a food scale, moment-to-moment lettuces are transplanted, to go to the city, to be eaten, and help us to grow again. Thus we are food and grow together.

In a similar landscape, we should have the feet firm on the ground. The inhabitants of the cities should know that carrots do not come from a plastic bag, but should also know beyond the where they come from, the why and where they go.

Humanity wanted to emerge a nearest cultivated nature, eliminating the wild. Wild systems have been replaced by surprise by predictability, genetic, autonomy by dependence, hand on the machine. The nature changes much like ourselves.

By Koncha pines Pey


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By • Apr 30, 2013 • section: General