One of the reasons I often feel compelled to write is for the joy and personal benefits it offers. Writing helps organize complex and abstract ideas and thoughts, it cements factual claims in our memories (at least temporarily), and it facilitates a clear articulation of opinions based on these thoughts, ideas, and, most importantly, facts.
I also often feel an urgency to write as an attempt to make some sort of difference. Typically, I feel that art and illustration are more powerful methods of relaying information and raising awareness, as they can appeal to a wider audience and require less time to digest. Art cannot do what writing can do however, and it’s important that these two tools of communication work together for the better.
It has been my intention to take my writing seriously for some time. Here and there, I’ll put in some effort, but it seems that life keeps getting in the way. This is not an excuse, however. If art and writing are such essential parts of my identity, then I need to make sure I put in the work to walk the walk.
This country’s agricultural system was founded on racism, exploitation, and violence. Slavery is still a reality for some marginalized farmworkers, and systemic racism remains inseparable from food production, food access, and health care. Sexual assault is a regular occurrence for roughly 80% of women in agriculture. While the social justice of agriculture has always been shameful, we’re now seeing a much greater threat to the environment from agriculture as well. Habit destruction and fragmentation have weakened the resilience of ecosystems. Species richness and abundance of pollinators, birds, mammals, and native plants has plummeted. Our crops’ genetic diversity has never been more vulnerable, and the produce we cultivate has become devoid of nutrients due to the exhaustion of soils. Food production in the U.S., and throughout the world, is playing with fire. We need legislative change. We need subsidies for small scale farmers. We need competitive markets to fight and prevent the monopolization of food production.
And, we need to fall in love with food, with cooking, with wine.
Food access and time constraints are a serious obstacle for many Americans, but I believe a cultural shift to embrace identity and sense of place through food is a key ingredient in achieving a fair food system.
So, it will be my goal to write a post once a month on or around the 15th. There is quite a lot to write about, but I think I will begin with the responses I received on the relationship between food and art. From there, we can talk about migrant farmers, pollinators, rare heirloom breeds, and beyond.