This morning I read a blog post from crippledscholar titled When Accessibly Gets Labeled Wasteful. I have noticed this tweet from Nathalie Gordon gaining a ton of momentum on various social media sites, and apparently it has caused Whole Foods do drop the product and The Huffington Post to get on board in the shaming frenzy.
This is another flaw of the Local Food Movement. The discourse doesn’t account for the elderly or disabled when imagining a food future that is “back to the roots”, Utopian in nature, with everyone doing their own small scale farming. The foods available at farmers markets, not only demand more time and cooking skills, luxuries only afforded to some, but they demand dexterity. One must cut or peel vegetables and fruits. And forget about the butchering skills necessary if you are to farm your own animals or take part in heard shares. Breaking down a chicken is a task! Foods are heavier in their whole form as well, carrying vegetables a distance might be impossible for some, extremely difficult for others.
You would probably buy foods with the most meal-like qualities, the highest caloric punch, instead of vegetables which are chiefly comprised of vitamins and lower nutritional density (less calories, more water, lower fullness factor if consumed on their own). If you had to choose only what you could carry, you would most likely choose quick meals and packaged foods.
I don’t think this exclusion is purposeful. We imagine that with good intention, everyone would be taken care of… However, we live in a culture that shames disabled people. We shame anyone with lower access. Shaming laziness, honestly, is often classist already.
I am also thinking about the Antioch Kitchens and our recent shift away from using disposable to-go containers. This shift is one that I fully support, as I believe our budget should be utilized for purchasing high quality foods, and not endless amounts of disposable cups, lids, and containers. But I’m also thinking about how disposables probably make dining easier for students that suffer from anxiety, and some of the missing dishware may be accounted for in this way as well. Luckily our school is so small and intimate that The Kitchen staff are eager to help accommodate student needs when voiced.
Ultimately, I am left with more questions about making food more accessible to all and what that looks like.