Does the corn grown on Iowa farms affect the way the five boroughs eat? The almost universally agreed-upon answer is yes, and two recent Times articles highlighted two separate root issues affecting the future our country’s food policy. The Business section featured a beaming Alice Waters, the organic food proponent, buying cabbage at a farmers' market. The death knell for agribusiness and corporate food has once again sounded, the article intoned, as production is moving toward smaller and more sustainable business models, and the organic vegetable garden being installed on the White House Lawn is only one indication of the trend's momentum.
In our city, the proliferation of new, nearby farms linked up with restaurants like Marlow and Sons and the new wave of small-batch craft food producers is indicative of the growing trend. In another Times piece, Mark Bittman argued that concerns about what really defines “healthier” food have relegated the word “organic” to the linguistic compost pile. He went so far as to strike the word from his vocabulary during his most recent book tour because of its downright inefficiency as a descriptor. "Organic," he writes, "doesn’t mean local.” Furthermore, he adds, we "should remember that the word itself is not synonymous with 'safe,' 'healthy,' 'fair,' or even necessarily 'good.' "
It seems fitting to announce here, then, of the possible next step: the upcoming Brooklyn Food Conference, a free event to be held May 2nd, will feature panels throughout the day, appearances by Dan Barber and Anna Lappé, and partner organizations Just Food and East New York Farms, among others. More information here.