The End of Food

I recently read a very good book called The End of Food by Paul Roberts which is a very interesting read for anyone interested in the history and dynamics of the global food economy. If you like Michael Pollan’s books, you will enjoy this as well. What is most interesting in this book is the detailed history and analysis of Agri-Business and how we’ve comodified our calories  and how we’ve (both the farmers and consumers) given away our connection to food to  companies like nestle, kraft, unilever who have found ingenious ways to “add-value” so as to make a profit. This process has been going on for hundreds of years.

Thank god I live in a city (NYC) where farmers markets abound. Check out Local Harvest to find farmers markets near you. They have a cool interactive map too. It’s much nicer to buy fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the local farms near New York.

New York is definitely known for its foodies. Check out foodie nyc for a cornucopia of complicated recipes ranging from soft shell crab, corn shoot and lovage salad toa rosemary, ginger, smoked paprika bloody mary. I have nothing against the gourmet lifestyle or the gourmands always seeking out the next best dish or chef. I also appreciate the restaurants that are increasingle featuring house-made dishes. See this News week article on the new house-made phenom.

What I really like, however, is the new urban-homesteading movement. More and more people live in cities — in 1800 only 3% of people lived in cities. In 2008, more than half the population of planet earth are urban dwellers!

It only makes sense that we will feel disconnected from our food supply. So – more and more of us are looking for ways to re-connect. Everyone makes choices about how to connect in the best way for them. For some people it’s farmers markets, for others it’s eating local, and for others, it’s cooking more and being conscious of the food they eat. For those like me, who like to do-it-ourselves, there’s urban homesteading. Even in dense NYC you can find ways to grow and make your own delicious foods.

Read about an urban-homesteading couple in Los Angeles at Reality Sandwich. There’s even a book for sale on Amazon: The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the city.

If you’re in NY and are interested in learning more, a good resource is The Local Fork, the locavores guide to NYC. I also like Leda’s Urban Homestead blog.

If you’re like me and like to make things that ferment (cheese, wine, beer, pickles, etc.) check out leeners — you can get just about anything from them.

I’d like to meet others in NYC who are interested in house-made / home-made / local / urban-homestead foods and the folks who make ’em. Send me a note and we’ll see if we can’t get a group of us together.

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One response to “The End of Food

  1. This book lays out the stark economic realities beneath modern food—and shows how our system for making, marketing, and moving what we eat is growing less and less compatible with the billions of consumers that system was built to serve. I just need to find my copy in the self storage glendale.

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