At the NASCO Conference in Ann Arbor last week, I was supposed to be attending a series on how to start your own co-op, but I managed to sneak out for a session on radical food politics. It's an interestingly baggy term, but associated, of late, with the locavore movement, Michael Pollen, organic, Gentically Modified Foods, lactofermentation, Vandana Shiva, etc. (See Grist magazine for a weekly food politics update).
The room was packed. If you dangle the word "radical" in front of a co-oper, she's going to bite. Actually, the people in the room already knew a lot about food, and most of them wanted to push it further with the group, in the moment, since that seems to make the best conference sessions.
Unfortunately, the level of proficiency in the room seemed to overwhelm the discussion leaders, so the initial set up was a bit shaky. The most important question I took was this:
How do we take food politics and apply it against other oppressive structures (race, class, gender, et cetera)? How do we move beyond diet prohibitions or prescriptions into something more radical?
It hit me this morning that the presenters were on to something: how do our politics change when the question "what are we eating?" develops into "yeah, but who are we eating with?"?