Over the last few years, I have been talking to people about the concept of food citizenships as an alternative to the dominant ways of which we talk about food – that of consumption and all our roles being that either of consumers and producers. Food citizenship seeks to disturb that story for some reasons, not least because a host of important things get lost when we can only speak about consumers or producers – these are topics that I will be blogging about in the coming weeks and months.
I am not claiming that I am alone in this effort, quite a few people are arguing for the same thing and engaging essential actors within the food system in these discussions, but as of yet, these are voices in the margins rather those that are making the whole food system work. This means that we need to keep asking and keep pushing to have these discussions.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging about Food Literacy – how we might make better choices and how that can transcend the limits of what all too often is the paltry offer made to consumers,
Once we have discussed Food Literacy, I want to move onto Food Dignity, to think about how food can increase people’s dignity, autonomy and power, so that rather than being something people feel powerless about to something that becomes partners in shaping and constructing.
By broken I mean that it is causing enormous social, health and environmental damage that can no longer be accepted. It is bland because the food we are offered through the food system, is increasingly dull and straightforward, our collective palettes are being dulled by this tedium. Boring – because to make money, or slightly more money out of food much of it needs to be standardised and made into components, many of which should have no place on our tables. At times these three themes merge, as you sit down to your microwave meal for one, zapped in and eaten from a plastic container, a bastardised version of a once delicious menu simplified with salt and sugar, it is boring, bland and broken.