What are we teaching our children or encouraging in our culture if we reject anything that doesn’t fall within a slim margin of perfection—within the standard shape, color, and size that we have deemed desirable?
If you’re food secure, you probably walk the aisles with a sense of possibility. Especially when it comes to higher-end or more intimate markets, your identity as customer means you are there to be served and valued: imagine what this alone does for your sense of worth.
By Sean Cloran. Growth of the world’s food supply won’t reduce food insecurity, and it may even cause more problems. Equally distributing access for all to food will reduce food insecurity, and reducing current food production levels while farming in more ecologically-friendly ways will restore balance to the environment.
The side of myself that wants my hands in the dirt and never to encounter a shower usually overpowers the side of myself that finds restoration in makeup application and shoes that clack when you walk, but sometimes the dynamic shifts. When it does, I thoroughly appreciate Goodwill sprees and REI store explorations, sometimes even H&M (don’t tell anyone)…
Many of these items (plastic and paper cups, utensils, napkins) are so cheap to produce that they automatically come with our food—even if we don’t want them to. As a result, we view these “free” materials as nearly worthless, and they go from single-use resources to “zero-use” resources: how many times have you received a straw with your drink that you didn’t use, or a clean napkin that you threw away with the rest of your meal?
Most Americans would agree on the counterproductiveness of needless spending, while admitting to doing so quite regularly—it is something we are all guilty of in our pursuit of pleasure. Many of us rationalize this spending as a necessary evil for a strong economy; in reality this could not be further from the truth.
Efforts to find balance between our reliance upon food and our consequent vulnerability to it can be exhausting amid distractions of healthwashed products, hectic schedules, and the disparate parallel food journeys of those closest to us.
To meet consumer demand, grocery stores “over-order, overstock, and are always prepared because they don’t want to lose that customer,” says Lauren. “As recently as 40 or 50 years ago, that just would not have been the case. But I live in New England and it’s March, and I can get pretty much anything at the grocery store that I want, whether it’s coming from down the street or halfway across the world.”
Many of us are stuck on the notion that it takes nerve to rebel against the guidance of the date label. But sniffing out freshness doesn’t require the experience of trial and error. It isn’t a skill we learn: it’s a skill we’re born with.