As the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations continue to swell, there are quieter activists in the shadows who have been very focused on one thing: our food supply. Yesterday while driving, I honked at a handful of middle-class protesters in front of a Publix grocery store with signs pleading for fair wages for migrant farmers. The grocery store chain clearly has the upper hand.
Speaking of vegans, last week I visited the second annual Community Food Summit of the Greater Everglades Foodshed. I’m assuming that “foodshed” draws its name from “watershed,” and that both refer to a geographical area that supplies our needs. At the meeting, I saw some of the same people I interviewed for my farmer’s market cover story.
Also there was Michael Brownlee from Colorado, whose organization has the goal of reaching 25% of food from local sources by 2020. To get there, Transition Colorado is developing awareness to increase the demand for fresh, local produce. They publish a “yellow pages” called Eat Local!, and they encourage individuals to pledge a shift of 10% to local foods. Those people in Colorado are really organized!
Some places have an app for that, on foodtree.com, but you’ll notice the participating cities are far, far from Florida. I applaud the efforts of Earth Learning to create a network of local food sources, but their battle is up Florida’s steepest hill: Mount Ignorance.
As far as we’re concerned down here, food comes from Publix, and that’s all we want to know. We don’t want the truth; we want convenience. Can I get that to go?