Friday, July 10, 2009

Ghana Fishin'

This morning's The World made the obvious link between the G8's proposal to fund agriculture in nations like Ghana and the old "teach a (hu)man to fish" saying.

I just want to go on record saying that I too think it's better to build roads that will help distribute food rather than letting it rot in the fields and then feeding Africans stuff that we grew. I too think it makes more sense to enable farmers to produce their own food rather than continuing to send aid after the fact (which we'll still need to keep doing, at least for a while).

This is that powerful part of the local food movement that is all too often obscured by obnoxious foodies like myself going gaga over scapes or black raspberries. Here eating locally is associated with stuffing yourself with goat cheese, but in other parts of the world it means being able to feed yourself at all.

Big Agriculture stole the word organic, they're working on co-opting "local," and soon Super Walmarts will probably have a little sticker that denotes (alleged) sustainability. But real sustainability is, not to be too dramatic, the key to our survival as a species, and local food is a big part of it.

So the next time you hear a foodie holding court about what they made from their most recent CSA pick-up, try this mental exercise: replace phrases like "ramp tartlets" with "food security."

Personally, I'm looking forward to the first issue of Edible Accra.

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6 comments:

Antonia Pujols said...

"This is that powerful part of the local food movement that is all too often obscured by obnoxious foodies like myself going gaga over scapes or black raspberries."

I am glad you address that. 'Sustainable food' is, and should be, saved from becoming yet another brand that only few can afford. It's meaning is political, and much more complex than the wonderful flavor of a peach grown in you backyard.

Debs said...

I admit, as soon as you said "black raspberries" my inner berry addict said, "WHAT? Where??!!!?!" Sigh. But yes, I agree with you about what's important.

I didn't listen to the link from The World, but I like the idea of enabling farmers to produce food and removing barriers that limit that rather than sending over our loads of white flour and vegetable oil and other nastiness.

Some aid projects are better than others, of course. The good ones draw on local knowledge and listen to local needs. The bad ones can be pretty disempowering, assuming farmers on another continent don't know what they're doing, or communities can't identify their own needs.

Debs
Food Is Love/Seattle Local Food

Rita said...

As they say "follow the money"...unfortunately,it's all about the money and not humanity. Is it too big for us to change?? Or is there a movement afoot?? Can you feel it? Keep thinking..writing..talking. I truly believe that it can change...one person at a time. As Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world"

Jay said...

"Follow the money," but follow the religion too. Sustainable food would probably be a lot easier with some sustainable birth control, but good luck trying to get that movement past all the "non-religious" governments.

Jo said...

I couldn't agree more that truly "sustainable" food is a good idea - no, a great idea - for the developing world. I just hope it can happen in a way that doesn't leave farmers around the world buying hybrid, patented seeds (and the patented fertilizer to grow those seeds, and the patented pesticides to keep them from dying, etc) from Monsanto and the like for the rest of their lives. I'm sure Big Agriculture would love nothing more than to corner that market.

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