Consider The Food System

 

We’re in a pandemic and we’re all waiting for it to be over. We want to get back to work, get back to grocery shopping with naked faces, meet our friends on patios and toast the death of COVID-19. But, in our impatience for quarantine measures to lift we might take a moment and consider what’s really happening right now. This virus is exposing a lot of things that have always existed but not always been questioned, or at least not as strongly as they are being questioned now. A new vegan cookbook offers great recipes, and some real food for thought.

 

James Beard winner, and chef-in-residence at MoAD, the Museum of the Africa Diaspora, Bryant Terry, published his fifth book, Vegetable Kingdom, this past February. According to W. Kamau Bell it is a cookbook that  “goes hard at vegetables with a hip-hop eye and a Southern grandmama’s nature.”

A recent interview between Terry and journalist Alicia Kennedy delves into existing food systems and food justice through the lens of the pandemic. If there is a deeper and more eye opening conversation on the subject, I have yet to find it.

 

Chef Bryant Terry

 

Here are a few choice excerpts from the interview:

Please go and read the full piece here

On the pandemic:
“People need to understand that this current ecological crisis—well, this pandemic is connected to an ecological crisis that is rooted in an economic crisis, which is capitalism, right? If we don’t get a grip on all that, and I think there needs to be more awareness about how, as humans, our relationship with animals, whether they’re wild or domestic, they’re the core of the majority of these epidemics and our current industrialized food system will continue to put us in position where we’re going to be dealing with these types of global pandemics and wildfires and climate chaos, and everything that we’ve been seeing over the past several years.

 

Try Vegetable Kingdom’s Spinach Salad and Blackened Chickpeas recipe here.

 

On farm-to-table:

“I think any movements promoting farm-to-table and seasonal eating, I mean—they’re just empty and selfish, frankly, if they don’t focus on the people growing and harvesting and transporting and cooking our food. Especially when we know that globally, the people most impacted by hunger and food insecurity are the people who are producing the food that we eat.”

On cooking:

“When I think about something like cooking or gardening or building community with family around the table, I think a lot of people might see these as apolitical. In our industrialized world that’s controlled by a handful of multinational corporations that are invested in you shopping at corporate-owned supermarkets or eating at fast-food restaurants or stuffing your face really quickly so you can get back to work, I would argue that making meals from scratch, growing your own food, gathering around the table are highly political and, dare I say, radical. In and of themselves, they’re not enough to continue to transform our food system, but I think they need to be uplifted alongside more organized forms of radical resistance to these oppressive systems.”

text has been condensed, find the full, amazing, and brilliant, interview here

 



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