Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Alas, after 122 years, the South St. Paul stockyards have closed.  The story made it onto the front page of the NYT on Monday (check out the audio slide show).  Can’t say I’ll miss the smell.

On NPR’s Morning Edition this morning, there was a story about the rising cost of food worldwide (deadly rioting in Haiti and Egypt – take a listen here). 

All this reminded me of two great essays by Michael Pollan and Wendell Berry about eating as an agricultural act.  Here’s an excerpt from Berry’s essay:

Eating ends the annual drama of the food economy that begins with planting and birth. Most eaters, however, are no longer aware that this is true. They think of food as an agricultural product, perhaps, but they do not think of themselves as participants in agriculture. They think of themselves as “consumers.” If they think beyond that, they recognize that they are passive consumers. They buy what they want — or what they have been persuaded to want — within the limits of what they can get. They pay, mostly without protest, what they are charged. And they mostly ignore certain critical questions about the quality and the cost of what they are sold: How fresh is it? How pure or clean is it, how free of dangerous chemicals? How far was it transported, and what did transportation add to the cost? How much did manufacturing or packaging or advertising add to the cost? When the food product has been manufactured or “processed” or “precooked,” how has that affected its quality or price or nutritional value?


1 Response to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

  1. 1 Matt H. April 17, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Living near enough to South St. Paul to hear the 6 am morning train whistles from cattle cars… I can’t say that I will miss it!

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