Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 11 Sep 2007

After the gym, while eating dinner, before diving into a little more work, I often sit here and catch up on my food blogs. I don’t read many but one of the few I do read regularly is Serious Eats. A lot of the articles seem a bit “fluffy” and many seem sponsored somehow (like all the “Cook the Book” posts), but, still, they get some good stuff posted on there.

One of their regular contributors is Ed Levine. Often when I’m skimming along at Serious Eats and see an article which slows me down it’s his name up in the byline. Today he posted an article about Alice Waters’ reaction to Farm Aid, or, specifically, the sponsors of it.

Rarely am I moved enough by something to warrant a public display of opinion but Alice’s comments really shucked my corn, I tell you. Farm Aid? Come to the Bay Area because we can do it “right” out here for them? I couldn’t help but to post a rare public comment about the matter.

I mean, for crying out loud! (no, I’m not done ranting yet even after the comment above) Yes, in 2005 agriculture accounted for $31.7 billion in California, so theoretically we have some vested interest in the welfare of farms. Yes, we have scads and oodles of tasty (and trendy) artisinal producers here, especially in Northern California. Yes, we have more than our fair share of winners of Beard Awards{.broken_link}. But to boldly state that we’re the only ones who could host Farm Aid properly is a public exercise in hubris and an affront to all of the fabulous producers in other parts of our country who are expending their blood/sweat/tears/lives trying to make something worth making.

Furthermore, the people in the best position to make a difference with Farm Aid are not Slow Food{.broken_link} (who, might I point out, are an international organization who could just as easily sponsor Farm Aid in NY as they could in CA) or the artisinal producers, themselves often supported by Slow Food’s Ark of Taste{.broken_link}. No, it’s the large but aware companies. The ones like Horizon Organic (Boulder, CO) and Clif Bar (Berkeley, CA) to whom Ms. Waters took such umbrage. Companies which, in their day to day existence, make an effort to support the little guy in such a way that both they and the larger company thrive. Capitalism with a conscience. It can work and these companies ought to be supported in their efforts rather than derided by those who are seen to be touchstones in the larger movement of food awareness.

Yes, we here in the Bay Area rock, but we don’t rule. Drop the attitude, folks, and maybe we can stop wasting our time pointing out how great we are and instead all start working together to improve the overall state of food production in our country. We are all on the same side here, aren’t we?