A History on Food: My Perspective
One hundred years ago, and forever before that, food was locally sourced and produced in a cooperative manner. Except it wasn't called locally sourced and co-op wasn't a business term. It was just how food came to be. It was grown, hunted, foraged, or gotten from a neighbor. Food was eaten fresh and preserved naturally.
As we were drawn to larger communities, populations grew, and our work changed, so did our food. It was slow at first. Milk was delivered instead of coming from your own dairy cow or goat. In rural communities (like my Dad's growing up) you still got your milk from a neighboring farm. Grocery stores were owned locally and still had a relationship with local farmers. They became the middleman you could buy from now that you couldn't trade your potato harvest for tomatoes. But it was still real food and real fresh. Food preservation was still comprised of canning, fermenting, and freezing.
Then the TV Dinner was invented in 1953. By 1970s it was a household staple.
This is where I stop and say my Mom and my Grandmothers cooked real food! My Grandma cooked squirrels my Dad and I shot, my Mom cooked pheasant and made real mashed potatoes. They canned and made jellies. My experience with "real food" is much better than most ehm, elder millennials. So how did we go from still getting milk from the farm in the 60s to squeezing packets of who knows what into our mouths on the way to CrossFit today?
Food became big business. We stopped producing any of our own food. We stopped supporting farmers. We started to value convenience over nutrition. We cost compared and saw that long shelf life items were cheaper than fresh meat and produce. We made way for money to become the deciding factor in food - at the producer, distributor, and consumer levels. We confused the issue so much that we need diet plans like Whole30 to tell us to eat real food!
But wait you say, the world has changed. Get with the times. I don't have time to make home cooked meals from scratch everyday. I can't go to the grocery store 3 times a week. I can't garden in my small space and even if I could, where would I squeeze that in my schedule? I challenge that notion to say there is middle ground. We can use advancements in technology and science to improve distribution and access, driving down prices and keeping food real. We can make what we eat a priority and in doing so, save time and money elsewhere. How? Check back next Wednesday!