Jambo, Bwana! (Hello, Mr.)
As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, East Africa, I was able to live in a food culture similar to that which Mr. Pollan would have us aspire. Vegetables and variations of ground corn were the staples of the diet, when enough was available. While most people had adequate quantities of food, quality was sometimes an issue. There were from time to time, inadequate amounts of locally produced food to feed people, usually due to drought. It is not pleasant to watch fellow humans go hungry.
Among the things that impressed me was how much parents were willing to sacrifice so their children could have milk to drink. Another was how much everyone craved to have meat added to their daily intake of food. In fact, one of the ultimate expressions of friendship in our part of Africa was to treat your friends to a ‘quick kilo’ (one kilogram) of meat grilled to taste, if the local butcher had a side of beef hanging from a tree limb. Does this tell us something?
Pay More, Eat Less?
Among the suggestions Mr. Pollan gives in his book is that of farmers producing less food in an approved manner (organically) and consistency (leaves). He also suggests that we should be willing to pay more for this food and then eat less of it. Whatever dietary merits these ‘improvements’ bring to us as people in America, his suggestions will probably remain in the domain of the economically elite and intellectually effete’. With all due respect the rest of us live in a world where this menu is less than palatable.
The discussion generated by Mr. Pollan’s book has certainly been an opportunity to explore some issues pertaining to food and food production. The opinions I have ventured here are my own, but are probably shared by others in production agriculture. Here is my own variation on the Pollan Theme:
Eat responsibly. Eat together. Be grateful for abundance. Thank a farmer.
George H. Roemer
UW-CALS Class of ’70
Moderator’s Note: This is page 5 of 5. Read the rest: A Wisconsin Farmer 2010-25-09.pdf