There are amazing, incredible things happening in the world of food right now, the farm-to-table movement, Michelle Obama and the white house garden, urban farming, locavore-ism, booming farmers markets, urban chickens, hipster butchers…. All that stuff is great, and I love it and support it completely. It’s about stripping away all that is fake, and fabricated, and “fun-shaped” and flavored in our industrialized, packaged, processes food world. Tearing the mask off of the un-real food posing as the real. It’s great, but only for those of us who are lucky enough to live in it every day and make it our lives.
Sometimes it feels like those great things happening in the food world are for just a few of us, in a small, pretty elite subculture…and that sucks, because there are a whole lot of people out there who are not being invited to the big green food party, because they think they can’t afford it, or because they think it doesn’t welcome them, or they believe what the food-industrial complex has been feeding their brains for 50 years. And so they don’t eat what we call “whole foods” – which is just elitist code for real unprocessed food — or buy from farmers markets, or eat carefully and simply and low on the food chain.
And corporate American Food knows this. They’re not stupid, they’ve been lurking, listening outside the barn door, spying on us, eavesdropping at our CSA pickups and farm-to-table dinners…they want in on the big green party too, and they are doing their damndest to grab their share of the farm-raised, organic, big green–apple pie, run it through the works of their factories, and sell it back to you in a microwavable pouch.
And that’s where “Foodiness” comes from. Foodiness is what I call all the altered, manufactured or simulated food products that have almost completely taken the place of actual food on grocery store shelves, in our kitchens, in restaurants, and in our diets. The puffed-corn-doodly snacks that are sprayed with spinach powder to give them a (literally) green-washed health halo. So that you can still feed your kid the same crap you ate, but now it’s the “healthy” version, carefully constructed and calibrated to resonate with today’s health-conscious moms. The yogurt in a fun tube, that’s dyed pink and has sparkles in it. Is that still even yogurt? Is that really what the Armenian shepherds who invented yogurt ultimately had in mind 2000 years ago? I think not. Not food, just Foodiness.
Why I do I call it “foodiness”? Because foodiness has hijacked the idea of what food is. Remember the Bush-era term “Truthiness”? Well Foodiness is Truthiness…ingested.
The Big Food manufacturers want you to believe that they have your best interests at heart, and that they really believe in their own “wellness” initiatives. But you know what? They don’t. This organic, sustainable, farm-to-table movement is ours. They can’t have it. And I’m really fired up about this. Too many people have worked too hard, for too long, to change our food system, and to bring it back from the industrial brink. Why would we allow Big Food to co-opt our movement right now, when we have come so far?