<a href="https://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/richard#">Life in the Slow Food Lane</a>

Life in the Slow Food Lane

A look at the eco side of eating, with Richard Cornish

Why write about food?

cows

Credit: iStockphoto

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A few years back I was afflicted by a crisis of confidence. Why should I spend my life writing about food? Wasn't it a pointless, fruitless pursuit simply aimed at filling the pages of publications to support adverting more consumer products?

I had always wanted to pursue the ideas of eating good food, knowing where it came from, understanding the effects growing food had on the environment and most importantly how the traditions of food were affected by globalism and industrialization.

Unfortunately for many years food writing had been about restaurant reviews and new books from celebrity chefs.

But there has been an amazing awakening in the Western urban public. With 2007 being the year when half of the Earth's population lived in cities for the first time there seemed to be a massive demand for stories about provenance or when our food comes from.

The further we are pushed away from the source of sustenance the more we yearn to learn where it was grown and how it got to us. Because we can longer see the farms where are animals are raised or the garden where are fruit and vegetables are grown we now have to trust the companies and organizations who feed us. And when that trust goes, as in the very recent milk substitution debacle in China, we then have an extremely unhealthy relationship with food.

Big food companies do not necessarily hide where their food comes from. It is just that the truth about production does not necessarily match up with their marketing of the product.

The picture of happy cows on the milk carton is much more appealing than the reality of a dairy farm which can be a fairly different looking situation. Except where farmers have gone out of their way to protect waterways cattle damage waterways, effluent runs off into creeks. There's also the farmers who produce milk and care for their land - they tend to be thinner on the ground, however.

To know where your food comes from is a natural human thing. Some of our greatest phobias are about food - take our natural suspicion of oyster and mushrooms.

We have a shared responsibility to make sure that food producers continue to make food that clean, green and safe. Ask questions, ring the number on the side of the pack, email from the website and let them know that you are keeping an eye on them.