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Food, redefining

Redefining Food in a World Where Food is Constantly Changing

In the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of interactions with ordering food for large groups of people.  As a part of my job, I help with logistics planning for conferences, and I’m planning a wedding at the moment.  It seems so straightforward to order food for 40-50 people and make everybody happy.

But it’s not.  Both our food and the way we interact with our food are constantly changing.  To satisfy 50 people, I had to search all over the city for places that would serve vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options because a fairly good number of participants had these dietary concerns – more than I have seen in a long time.  During one conversation with a friend about this planning, she mentioned that a friend of hers didn’t eat ‘American wheat’ because she believed that the amount of chemicals and pesticides used to produce wheat in the United States changed the wheat itself.  Not only are our food sources changing, but the way we think about our food is as well.

It might be my small town upbringing, but ten years ago I don’t think you would see that many people becoming vegetarian or avoiding certain foods because of the way that food was produced.  I know there were a lot of people who made those choices, but compared to today I think it was less.  It’s almost as if to do any kind of environmental work, it’s assumed that you have made the political choice to eat local or to not eat meat.  I keep my omnivore status quiet in those circles because it almost makes me ashamed to admit that I feel that my body needs meat.  More and more, people are thinking about where their food comes from, and trying to make informed, conscientious decisions that take into account health, politics, and social justice. The conversation we have about food is changing.

So how do we even begin to talk about food, let alone talk about redefining it? So much has already been said, so many people have already been overwhelmed by the amount of material out there that it’s easier to just ignore it.  My intent with this series isn’t to attempt to redefine food as vegetarian only or that eating only from your local farmer’s market is the best way to eat.  It is to try to find new ways of looking at this conversation and to try to redefine the way that we talk about food.  Food is so much more than what we eat – it’s political, it’s community, it’s social justice.  Eat what you want, but don’t eat just to feed your body.  Indulge the rest of food’s implications and make it more than ‘just food.’ Make it an ever-evolving experience.



5 thoughts on “Redefining Food in a World Where Food is Constantly Changing

  1. I love the idea of ‘indulge the rest of the food’s implication’. Food is a constant source of fascination for me, I love books on food history (who would have thought a biography of salt could be so interesting?) and books on the way we eat and how it has changed.
    One difference I have seen in the vegan community here in the UK compared to those in the USA is that the majority of vegans in the USA seem to have chosen that diet due to health whereas in the UK the assumption is still that it is an ethical/animal welfare issue. I don’t know why this difference arose. Any thoughts?

    Posted by Herbifit | August 18, 2012, 2:45 am
    • That’s interesting – I didn’t realize it was so different. Maybe this is because animal welfare is so hidden away from the average consumer here? Especially when it comes to our food sources. Do you have the same problems like that in the UK?

      Posted by Lisa Christina | August 19, 2012, 12:55 pm
      • Yes. There are fewer of the huge industrial feed-lots although they seem to be coming this way, we have also go tighter regulation on animal welfare so some practices that are common in the states are outlawed here. Most people here do seem to know how their food is produced, or at least a little about it, the majority don’t seem to care.
        I wonder if it is the other way around though. There is less of a culture of healthy eating in the UK (I think) and people who chose a healthy diet are seen as faddy or fussy. is that different in the ISA?

        Posted by Herbifit | August 20, 2012, 2:06 am
      • I think that people in the US seem to always be talking about diets – so much that it almost feels weird to not be on any kind of specific diet! I think we talk a lot about health here. I think we’re encouraged to make a change in our diet for health reasons, more than anything else. In fact, it’s been a long time since I met someone who was a vegetarian for reason of animal welfare. Thanks to PETA’s antics, it seems that those reasons are seen as less legitimate somehow, almost ignorant? It feels like politics and health are what informs diet decisions more than anything else.

        Posted by Lisa Christina | August 20, 2012, 12:52 pm


  1. Pingback: Redefining Food: Vegans in the UK « Redefining Eco - August 28, 2012

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