Nations need good food

In this forum edited by Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters, experts discuss the politics of food, and how it may be poisoning our bodies and our planet.

She writes,

“It turns out that Jean Anthèlme Brillat-Savarin was right in 1825 when he wrote in his magnum opus, The Physiology of Taste, that “the destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed.”

Alice Waters became instantly popular in Berkeley when she served fresh herbs, salads and vegetables, along with farm-raised poultry, lamb, pork and beef, hand-made baking and local creams and cheese. At first, she developed a route of farms to gather her items, grew many in friendly plots all around the neighborhoods, and took delivery from farmers driving to town. She revived what had been almost buried under industrial food chainstores. She showed us that local fresh quality is both truly wonderful and available.

About the same time I was operating a similar farm route, a “food conspiracy” in Marin County officially called the Family Food Co-op.

Twice a week, two or three pickups would circle the Bay Area for bundles of produce, cured meats and cheeses, and boxes of fruit and juices. Some farmers were surprised that we would appear down the driveway, eager to load as much as they could provide.

We were “exposed” in the newspaper as un-American hippy socialists bypassing the retail stores! We were merely looking for good value and good stuff. With the help of a local seminary, we carried on under the umbrella of a big church group helping a few hundred families save money and eat well.

Many folks cross the farmer’s gate. And like many cities, the Bay Area has farmers coming to market and publishes maps along various Farm Trails for tasting and sightseeing.

Supermarkets are improving quality and selection — even if it seems to be taking so-o-o long.