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Why What We Eat Matters

Why What We Eat Matters

I've posted three articles around this topic this week, one a lecture on food propaganda following WWI, one on Chipotle's Super Bowl ad, and one on an interview with Vandana Shiva. Before you go any further, take a quick spin of those links (the lecture is an hour, so just reading the description will do). The study was so insightful, the ad so understatedly purposeful, and the interview so compelling that I wanted to expand on the topic a little, beyond a short "look at this" post on social media.

I am continuing to grow in understanding of how everything in life is interconnected. As much as we try to create distinctness in ourselves and other entities (other people, other life forms, the environment, societies, et al.), everything is ultimately connected as the process of living marches on. For example, a tree pulls nutrients from the soil, which came from many other sources nourished by many other things. Then the tree releases material from its consumption, which is in turn consumed by other entities. You get the cycle.

The food system and humans partner in this same cycle. So as you can logically extract, when one part of the system influences another function somehow, it impacts the broader system in its entirety.

This. Is. Immutable.

When we examine the food system and the shifts taking place, each of these articles touches on why and how it is. The lecture on food propaganda shows how we are driven to think, act, and make decisions about food is powerfully influenced by the cultural systems we live in, often unbeknownst to our consciousness. Chipotle's Super Bowl ad reflects the food cycle's interconnectedness and how changes in how we grow, distribute, and make food will save the world. And Shiva's interview, in particular, reinforces the magnitude of food's impact. As she states, "food and culture are the currency of life." You can't have one without the other.

These perspectives are why changes to the food system are underway, and smart food companies will understand they must move away from the industrial food system's historical comfort and toward a localized, less processed one. It's possible and can be just as efficient, but it requires a different mindset and emphasis on multiple outcomes, not just profit (yes, there must be profit). It will be uncomfortable as this transformation unfolds, but growth only comes from pressure. Getting through this liminal state into the post-state where nutritious food is grown and made closer to the people that consume it will be worthwhile, and frankly, our life depends on it. 

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