As I was browsing Instagram the other day I came across a profile that set me off. On this person’s description they described themselves as a connoisseur of local products and a locavore. This term, deemed by Michael Pollan, describes a person who is committed to eating food grown and produced locally.
The profile got me thinking of how we have categorized ourselves when it comes to eating. We have vegetarians, pescatarians, gluten-free, lacto-vegetarians, paleo diet, raw food, etc. The list is infinite for how to describe a person’s particular diet. However, I have noticed that people who describe themselves in these certain terms are not necessarily the people who shop at your local Baja Ranch or 99¢ Store, but they are people who shop at the Farmer’s Markets and Whole Foods.
So, do we have to have a certain lifestyle to have a certain diet? My frustration comes when we place these labels on one another and fail to include those who might not be able to afford eating that way into our group. Can this change?
A mix of races and socioeconomic statuses surrounds the neighborhood that I live in. There is a local Farmer’s Market that has been going for almost 20 years, which I stumbled upon by happenstance. My husband and I both have part-time jobs in Malibu, CA, where there is also a Farmer’s Market (FM). The difference between these two Farmer’s Markets is frightening. The FM in my neighborhood is filled with older folks that seem to have come to the market since it began. Not a lot of the food that was sold there was organic and the produce seemed to be going bad. There were not a lot of vendors, and they seemed to like that fact. Whereas the Malibu FM has hundreds of people in and out, food crafters where people can buy lunch, boutique shops that sell handbags and candles. The vendors all wear chefs coats and smile as the crowds come through claiming that their only priority is to eat local and organic.
I bring up these two FMs for the purpose of showing how the game of food doesn’t play fair. I believe that each of us has the right to choose whichever diet we want and that it should be affordable for all. An organic apple should not cost $2 more than a conventionally produced one. We are all worthy and have value. So, no matter if you are gluten-free, lacto-vegetarian, pescatarian, or any of the diets know that it is still unusual to have a choice in the food that you consume.
*Personally, I do strive for a locally produced and grown diet. It is not easy to do, but I do so for sustainable reasons and because it lines up with my ethics and values.