food · Sat with Nat

Food is a feminist issue

I’m very privileged to be able to have choices about the food I eat. I remember my mother telling me about her family getting a box of oranges as a special treat at Christmas. I remember how my dad shooting a deer in the fall meant the difference between having a good year or not. 

These are not my concerns today. Today I worry about my teenage sons getting too many of their calories from carbs or protein, not if they have access to food. 

Sam sent me this article about organic produce:

I have to agree with many of the points. Often the “organic” label is used to jack up the price of food with little return on investment.  There are a few studies that indicate organic foods are cross-contaminated with pesticides from other foods during shipping. (Ya, look it up)

I’m one of those annoying white women who encourage folks to buy local, organic produce when you can. Why? Not for health benefits because many of those claims are unsubstantiated. Ya. You might be being fleeced if you go to a chain supermarket and buy organic foods. Sorry!

But there’s a thing about choosing local produce when you can. Want to be fit? How about, when you can afford it, buying locally grown food? It reduces your carbon footprint and supports your local economy. 

I can’t be fit if I can’t drink the water in my tap or breathe the air in my city. So for me buying local food that is organic is about supporting agricultural practices I want to see. Small scale farming helps me feel connected to the people that grow my food. My food fuels my body to move me forward. 

These things matter but if you need to buy 3 for a $1 instant noodles to hit your caloric intake please don’t let my preferences bring you down. You get to decide what you eat and what you like to eat. 

As a kid I picked fiddleheads and in season berries. We didn’t call this foraging, it was just how we got our food. Now I get to buy all kinds of things. Will I buy in season organic food?

Heck ya!

Do I think it will make me incredibly healthy? No. Not really but it might just help tip the table to less egregious forms of agriculture and that is enough for me. 

I am under no illusion that my small gardens in my urban yard will fully feed my family. I grown some of my own food simply to appreciate the sheer enormity of what is involved in growing my food. I buy local when I can, organic when I can’t and respect that these are incredibly privileged choices to make. 


3 thoughts on “Food is a feminist issue

  1. This was a great read !
    I am living in Guatemala right now and buying local is SUPER important to this community. Yes, they have grocery stores, but buying your produce from the market is:
    2) A fun experience searching through all the fresh goodies
    3) helps improve/sustain the lives of the local people here.

    buying local/organic is so important !

  2. Admittedly I don’t look for the organic label. What I simply do prefer is local food or at least grown in Canada. There is a difference in taste as well all know of freshly picked veggies and fruit vs. not.

    I do have some rules for buying food from Asia because I genuinely believe there is far less environmental regulation on the waters and soil. I will only buy “fresh stuff” that truly is not grown in North America: fresh water chestnuts, litchee (maybe that could be grown south of us), bamboo shoot, etc. I do not buy fresh seafood if I know it’s from Asia.

    Terrible as it may seem, I will not buy snow peas from China. I am so suspicious of the heavier use of pesticides there and other chemicals, etc. It makes no sense, when it can be grown in Canada (Toronto area did grow them). Strangely I seldom see fresh snow peas from Canada nowadays.

    So I focus on buying dried Asian pasta (they tend to be lighter than Italian dried style), certain pastes (curry, soy bean, chili paste).

    So I’m acting out my North American privilege …which I’ve picked up from my non-English speaking mother who is as equally suspicious of chemical use in some Asian foods. 🙂

    Whenever we go on vacation anywhere worldwide and here in North America, we visit the local farmers’ market…always a good place for gauging “local” feel and local fresh specialities and canned/handmade stuff.

    It’s been several decades I’ve bought instant noodles with their oily instant sauces. 🙂 Just buy fresh Asian steamed noodles in the Loblaws section near the tofu. Sauteed onions, garlic and bok choy with reboiled, drained (takes 5 min.) steamed noodles. …Voila. Life is not that hard. Just an extra 15 min.

    Instant noodles makes sense for long, tiring bike/camping trips out in the wilderness/rural areas. All that salt and oil your tired body needs it after sweating it out. 😀 Just like having a small chocolate bar after cycling 65 km. before pushing onto 100 km. A relief in the vast expanses of rural Canada.

    1. Hi Jean!
      There is nothing as sweet as that chocolate bar on a ride and everything tastes amazing after a long ride 🙂

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