Tag Archives: Michael Pollan

Slow Food in Madison

If Madison had a full name, I think it would be: Madison Slow-Food Wisconsin. (Well, maybe Madison Badger Football Slow-Food Wisconsin. Whatever.)

I became interested in food issues as a way to narrow my environmental focus last fall, but it wasn’t until this year that I realized just how impressive and involved the slow and local food movements are here. I now know how lucky I am to be surrounded by this and I will definitely gain plenty of ideas should I ever want to start similar programs in another city someday.

DSCN0763This morning I volunteered at the Food for Thought Festival where Michael Pollan also came to speak. I was only expecting a few people to stop by after the farmers’ market, so I was surprised when thousands of people stopped by to show support, learn, eat, and make community!

I got to meet many interesting people while I was working at the Buy Fresh, Buy Local cafe and then the info table. I EVEN got to break my no-meat fast with a brat from L’Etoile restaurant which told me all about the farm from which the meat came. It was so good. (SO. GOOD.)

Anyway, the morning made me excited about becoming more involved with food advocacy since it’s such a great way to play an important role in environmental issues and has an appeal to all types of people eating all types of foods. I’m hesitant to focus only on one “issue” group since I know I have a lot more to learn, but this has been really fun so far this year.

I’d love to go on, but I have to get to some homework, so I’ll let some pictures tell the story for themselves.

-Jenny

People learning about REAP and BFBL

People learning about REAP and BFBL

Had to love this after my soils test on Monday!

I had to love this after my soils test on Monday

The BFBL cafe tent where I was. SUCH good food!

The BFBL cafe tent where I was. SUCH good food!

Some local art (of food... surprise) with a view of the capitol

Some local art (of food... surprise) with a view of the capitol

The demonstration tent

The demonstration tent

DSCN0764

Thanks for the food, farmers!

Thanks for the food, farmers!

Pet the chickens!

Petting the chickens

Tons of produce at the Farmers' Market

Tons of produce at the Farmers' Market

My friend Adi buying apples

My friend Adi buying apples

Fall flowers

Fall flowers

Anyway, it was a great morning and congrats on a successful event to REAP Food Group!

Tagged , , ,

Rainy day in Madison

That’s ok though, I have lots of work to do!

Yesterday in Food class we discussed more about Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, in preparation for his arrival in Madison this Thursday! My classmates commented that they wish Pollan would focus more on the need for political revolution regarding food issues instead of focusing solely on individual habits. While I understand this criticism (which is in line with Julie Guthman’s critique of Pollan, among others), I appreciate Pollan’s “everyone has a place” attitude and find his encouragement and careful explanations adequate. Well, better than adequate. In fact, I highly recommend the book!

One thing he says that I loved was,

“In the eye of the cook or the gardener or the farmer who grew it, this food reveals itself for what it is: no mere thing but a web of relationships among a great many living beings, some of them human, some not, but each of them dependent on the other, and all of them ultimately rooted in soil and nourished by sunlight. I’m thinking of the relationship between the plants and the soil, between the grower and the plants and animals he or she tends, between the cook and the growers who supply the ingredients, and between the cook and the people who will soon come to the table to enjoy the meal. It is a large community to nourish and be nourished by.” (page 201)

ahhhhh….

Anyway, after you all read the book, I’d love to have a discussion on the “eat less, pay more” aspect of his idea. Where does this fit into a college life/budget? Are those who can afford cable TV and cell phones required to pay extra for sustainable/local/organic foods? Is it a preference in flavor/nutrition/image? Does anyone else out there have an internal and emotional BATTLE every time they go to the grocery store?!

Next, I (fittingly) had lab for ecology class at the F.H. King Student Farm where our teacher introduced the “food situation” to students who weren’t up to date, discussed the benefits of growing your own food, and taught us the various beneficial qualities of certain weeds! (Did you know that eating dandelion root detoxifies your liver?… just make sure no one has been spraying it with RoundUp first!) It was a lovely day and I very much enjoyed the conversation (and munching on fresh grapes), even though I knew most of the information. It’s so exciting to see people excited about this. Our TA asked, What did you have from lunch and do you know where the ingredients came from? (Do you?)

But then, the BEST NEWS OF ALL, was that I was pleasantly surprised when I got home from lab to receive an email explaining that Michael Pollan will be doing a meet and greet with Environmental Studies students on Friday morning! Anyone thinking what I’m thinking? Guest blogger anyone? (I wish.)

I’m preparing some questions to ask and I’ll have my camera at hand!

But that was yesterday.

Today is rainy and I have a lot of schoolwork to catch up on before I continue to get more throughout the week. I realized that my money situation is at an all-time low, so I’m also doing some research into personal financial management for college student (I have a feeling that my new budget will leave less room for more expensive co-op shopping? We’ll see.) I have dreams of farming in Peru or traveling elsewhere next year, but none of this will be possible unless I figure out issues of loan deferment, getting my savings back up, and managing my expenses more carefully!

Lots to do.

I hope everyone is having a good Tuesday,

Jenny

Tagged , , , ,