Eating is an Agricultural Act

Ken Taylor's Writings

Excerpts from Director’s Report, MFA Digest, June, 1991

According to Wendell Berry, “Eating is an agricultural act.” This is a statement of individual empowerment, because it means that every time we make choices about what we eat and who we purchase it from, we are voting on the direction in which we want our food system to move. E.F. Schumacher used to advise people interested in making change to “first, inform yourself, second, support those people and organizations already involved in the work, and third, find some way to take action yourself.” Here are three specific suggestions:

One of the most obvious steps to take in informing ourselves is to find out where our food dollar is really going. Who is currently the largest food company in the world?

What are the brand names under this very large umbrella? Perhaps knowing the answer to that question will inform some of our purchasing decisions. Buying local makes a strong statement for supporting food system reform globally. Subscribing to one of the community supported agriculture enterprises beginning to emerge here in Minnesota <in 1991 at least three being operated by MFA members> is a concrete step toward fundamental food system reform.

Finally, take action by getting involved in changing the rules of the game—the process of reshaping public policies to see to it that people’s basic needs are met in a socially just manner and to create incentives for protecting and nurturing the environment. The system we are confronting has not been ordained by some natural law other than greed. We must find ways to turn back the 1980s version of the Golden Rule, i.e., “who has the gold makes the rules” and adopt a slightly revised version of the original which says, “Treat Mother Nature and each other the way we would like to be treated.”