Food nostalgia

Can you see beyond a paradigm when you are inside it – immersed, educated, experienced? I wondered this watching yet another episode in the ‘intensify or die’ debate that erupted from the opening of the academic year. The episode can be seen here where Louise Fresco argues for nuance and warns against romantic food nostalgia, such as cows in pasture.

The message; in order to feed the world, we cannot afford ‘irrational’ emotions but we need – more than ever- to trust and give way to science and technology to further rationalise and effectuate efficiency in the food system. We may want human scale, but that’s in fact irresponsible, organic is for the happy few.

Paradigm might be a difficult word here as science itself sees many paradigms existing simultaneously. What I mean is more ideas on how to organise society. Recently, someone explained why it was such a revolutionary thing for Descartes to say ‘I think therefore I am’ at the time. We would now say, ‘yes of course, me too’. At the time, it was the birth of a new and individual awareness which contrasted heavily with the god-given self un-aware collective way of relating to the world.

The rest is history. It brought us the scientific method and the century of the masses, including mass-produced food. Can we look beyond? The Maker Movement for example is pointing to two things 1) the distinction between producer and consumer changes and disappears 2) endlessly expanding niche or even unique product markets. The DIY movement is based on sharing and on new notions of quality and is organised differently with the help of the newest technology. And it may imply much more,  new ideas on scale and connectivity to begin with.

If we cannot imagine another society, should we conclude it is not possible? Should we dismiss the ‘irrational’ desire for human scale?

4 thoughts on “Food nostalgia

  1. Dear Petra, thanks for sharing. My mind is working around your last question for a while now. What are the “right” choices to be able to feed the population with available resources not only now but also in the future? Not just from a quantity perspective but also looking at the quality of food. How to make people more aware of what food means for their health (you are what you eat)? But also making them aware of how they can take care of the earth in the same way. Is it possible to combine these two in a sustainable way? Or will you have to make choices (organic food from the other side of the world or non-organic local food)? Listening to and watching Louise Fresco in interviews the last few days and the comments of others on this subject and her book (I must confess I did not read her book yet), for me, show that different opinions make room for different solutions in different societies. Development creates not only great insights but also raises more questions.

  2. Dear Corine, thanks for your thoughts. And I found an interesting blog which also ponders on you question of quality which I re-blogged at our blog. Best wishes Petra

  3. Dear Petra, thanks! I watched Tegenlicht last Monday. This week I got information about a similar project in Holland as the one on Samso, Denmark. I am going to look into it.

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