I have not published a blog entry lately and while I admit that has a lot to do with the perceived intensification of my academic obligations as I have found my passions woven into the syllabi for each course I’m taking, it also can be attributed to my recent intimidation by the complex issues that relate to food. Throughout my career at Columbia I have been asked to analyze rhetoric, politics, literature, social and cultural structure and all methods which move people to decision, action, or unrealized changes in behavior. I study colonialism, capitalism, nationalism, environmentalism, developmentalism, and public health. I focus on agency, commodities, branding, fear, and safety. And the more I study the more I realize that food is so difficult and so important that every word I speak or type for it must be directed toward relieving our lives of the corruption that has befallen the world’s food system. There are, however, a number of questions that paralyze my idealistic motivations and have been the source of much duress in my life over the past few months. The most intense of these problems are: (1) should we promote local “global” tastes?; (2)how can we negotiate both the support of small farmer and the accommodation of the small business within America’s current economic structure? (3) is education or legislative regulation more effective in developing healthy food habits?; and finally, (4) do our actions as individuals even matter?
In order that the issues remain easy to follow, I am going to create a separate post for each problem. Each of these posts will be informed by my academic work, independent study, and personal experience. As I labor to overcome my fear of presenting so many unanswered questions, I hope that these posts might serve as a forum to bring understanding to me and all who participate.
Please comment liberally or contact me personally to engage in the conversation.