Letter from the Editor

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Cast your ballot for responsible food choices

The “silly season” is in full swing, and no matter what your political persuasion, I’m sure you’re looking forward to a conclusion, along with the rest of us. One of the things I’m grateful for, living here in Washington, is that we aren’t one of the early primary states for presidential elections. The barrage of advertising that residents of, say, New Hampshire have to endure is mind numbing.

The impending election, though, is a reminder of a point made by writer Michael Pollan. Moved by environmental activist Wendell Berry’s phrase, “eating is an agricultural act,” Pollan asserted, “eating is a political act, as well.”

This is a short excerpt from Pollan’s interview in The Atlantic in 2013:

Here’s an example of what can happen when people do connect the dots. When a blogger in Texas last year wrote about “pink slime,” there was an overwhelming public response and the company that produced the stuff nearly collapsed. This was terrifying to the food industry — who realized that, as strong as they are, they become vulnerable when people look up from their burgers and say “What the hell is in this?” And then: “You know what? I don’t want that stuff.” When that happens, an industry can be brought low overnight. There is great power in this.

So I’ll use this political season to remind us all that with each meal we eat, we are voting for the food system we want. If you choose organic rather than conventional, you’re telling the market that keeping herbicides and pesticides out of your family’s food matters to you. And if you choose a food imported from a distant country because it’s cheaper than the same food produced here at home, you’re casting another very clear vote — a vote that says you don’t mind losing local farmland to development and don’t care about worker safety, or food safety, or fair wages.

I won’t ask anyone how they’ll vote in the elections this November, but I will ask you to remember that each meal you choose is a vote for the kind of world you live in and leave to our children.

So – let’s eat!

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