We are the luckiest generation on the planet

so, we’re having this recession, right?

unemployment is 9.5 percent, fyi.

and even now, in the worst of times, not only are most of us STILL not going hungry, we are both able to ignore the poverty around us while continuing to remain very picky about the food we choose to consume.

i think i heard chris rock say once that no one is lactose intolerant in Africa. this is because if you have access to milk, you drink it. food allergies are a luxury that cannot be afforded.

meanwhile, here in America, there are things like this, which came from a NYT piece on “urban foraging,” (which is as adorable as it sounds!!!):

Neighborhoodfruit.com offers a swapping system and lists 5,000 public fruit trees around the country. The founders are considering charging a $4 finder’s fee for people who want to use the site, said Kaytea Petro, who helped start the project.

They might even add a V.I.P. service for “the super-fancy Slow Food people who really like the idea of extremely local food but don’t have time to go get it,” she said.

 

yes, while the rest of the world grasps at the crumbs from our table, we have time to say, “man, i’m really into preparing hyperlocal food, but i’m not willing to participate unless my iPhone comes with an app that can pinpoint each peach tree in the city.”

as a nation, we are truly blessed. we have come so far since the depression.

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  • Ed P.

    Hire a few homeless people to pick the fruit by the railroad tracks so you don’t have to get your shoes dirty.

    The only difference between urban foraging and dumpster diving is that the branches of the tree hang out of your yard.

  • Jaydubs

    I dunno, Lyndsey, I guess I don’t exactly understand what you’re aiming at here. I don’t think that any (well, very many, I’m sure that there are some) of the Slow Food-ites are claiming that a.) they’re poor; or b.) if they are, that their poverty is comparable to that in Africa, North Korea, or wherever. Personally, I find urban foraging interesting (and dumpster diving, for that matter); I think it’s a way of becoming aware of the untapped resources around us. For instance, I was happy to discover that one of the weeds I was pulling from the garden was actually an edible green, so I started harvesting and eating it instead of tossing it.

    As to the food allergies slam, well, I’d say that’s neither here nor there. Some people have legitimate allergies, some people have food preferences that they mask as allergies. The latter are annoying, sure, but apart from making it a hassle to plan meals they might be attending, it’s no skin off my nose.

    But again: I just don’t get the point you’re trying to make. *Of course* we’re better off than in countries whose people are starving, I don’t think you’ll find much of an argument there. But even if they’re not starving, I don’t think it’s fair to knock people who self-identify (or who are identified by outsiders) as poor just because they aren’t in the same dire straits experienced by people in other countries. From a sociological perspective, a person’s poverty is measured less by what life is like in a far-away country and more by what life is like for people near them.

  • Jaydubs

    And now that I’ve read the article, I’m even *more* confused about the point you were trying to get at.

    Some selections from the story:

    “In Columbia, S.C., university students pulled spare peaches from orchards and donated them to a local food bank.”

    “Supporters of this movement hold two basic principles. One, it’s a shame to let fruit go to waste. And two, neighborhood fruit tastes best when it’s free.”

    “Half the fruit goes to the people who pick, and half to a local food bank. Ms. Kolker reserves half of the dozen slots at each picking party for low-income people.”

    “Neighborhoodfruit.com … founders are considering charging a $4 finder’s fee for people who want to use the site, said Kaytea Petro, who helped start the project. That sum could help pay for the Web site but still be affordable for people with low incomes, who might be able to sell pies or other items made with the fruit. The fee would be waived for people who give fruit away.”

    What’s the problem here? It doesn’t sound like the people involved in this are ignoring the poverty around them, for one, and if anything, it seems like we should be encouraging this stuff, as to be less wasteful of the resources around us.

    For those interested, the story can be found here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/dining/10Fruit.html

  • Ed P.

    Then you have urban garden thieves, buncha lzy idiot basil rustlers.

    http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2009/07/basil-thieves-rampant-in-carroll.html

  • Ed P.

    Then you have urban garden thieves, buncha lazy idiot basil rustlers.

    http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2009/07/basil-thieves-rampant-in-carroll.html

  • theteet

    um, jaydubs? my friend? a little grace?

    i was saying we are lucky. we are blessed.

    i am glad we’re not starving, and that we can afford choices like “organic,” “grass-fed,” “vegetarian,” “no high fructose corn syrup,” “lactose intolerant,” “slow food-ites who use iPods to locate peach trees” or whatever the case may be.

    i am trying to live some of these labels myself, so …

    our lives don’t suck, and i am happy for that.

    oh, and my grandpa, who raised six kids during the depression before he died, would probably kick my ass (or at least roll his eyes) over some of my grocery store food purchases.

    that is all?

  • http://senorcoconut.diaryland.com Michele

    Amen! Agreed! Etc! I keep wondering when this recession will cause me to spend less than $8 on a six pack of beer or to eat tacos fewer than four times a week. but so far, so good.

    P.S. Changing subject. I got confused about the status of chickens. I heard some died. Can I still purchase?

  • Jaydubs

    I’m not trying to pick a fight, I swear. Like I said, I had a hard time determining the tone of your post. I didn’t get the sense that you were simply saying that we were blessed to be where we are–to me, it seemed like you were being fairly disparaging about what these urban foragers were doing.

    My impression from the NYT story was that, sure, many of people into the foraging stuff are coming from places of privilege–which seemed to be the focus of your comments–but that these urban sources are providing for the poor, too. In that context, I found you saying we “ignore the poverty around us while continuing to remain very picky about the food we choose to consume” to be a slam on the public in general and the folks mentioned in the story in particular.

    In terms of urban foraging itself, my sense of this stuff is that, after decades of elevating processed foods or expensive imported foods, we’re returning to eating in a way that is increasingly similar to the way our grandparents or great-grandparents ate, even if now we’re doing it under the banner of “locavore,” and then, folks ate from the garden because, well, that’s what people did. So, to that end, I don’t think your grandpa would find what you’re doing to be that strange.

    Personally, for much of my childhood, my family used food stamps, and the cyclical nature of the steelworking industry meant that more than once, we turned to a union-supported food pantry for our meals. So, while I’d admit that I, too, make plenty of ridiculous food choices at the grocery store, I guess I still don’t feel that removed from food-insecure people, and I’m sensitive to what I perceive as accusations that we don’t know how good we’ve got it.

    Anyway, all of that is to say that if I seem strident about all of this, it’s because this is a subject that arouses my passions.

    Whew. Time for bed.

  • theteet

    My grandfather would roll his eyes at my $6 Amy’s Bowl. (Although the organic pesto tortellini was on sale for $2.99! Woo-hoo!)

    I feel pretty comfortable saying we don’t know how good we’ve got it. And I think you should, too. It’s not to say we’re spoiled a-hole brats. It’s to say that we can’t appreciate sacrifices we haven’t ever had to make.

    We can sympathize all we want, but until we’re down in the trenches (sometimes literally) I don’t think humans are able to fully GET it. That’s not an accusation of anything so much as it is just the truth and also okay as long as we acknowledge that we don’t know what we don’t know.

    And I think you’re interpreting my blog post as an ATTACK on urban foraging and specifically those people in the article. It wasn’t. It was just that one line about the Internet that made me step back and say, “Wow. We are in a special place during these hard times.”

    I am going to duck when I see you in the office. Angry Badger Urban Forager Jenny is scary yet also arousing.

    Michele — HI! A few of the meat chickens were eaten by feral cat, but there are still about 40 left for human consumption. They are scheduled for slaughter July 17, although they are huge and probably ready now (uh-oh!). Someone was asking if they freeze well, and I must say, they do! We just ate our last one at our 4th of July party. Don’t tell my family that it was in there for a YEAR before we grilled it. :)
    Are you currently in/ever coming back to Ohio?

  • Jaydubs

    You’ll find no argument here that we have it better than most, and there are many people who would consider themselves lucky to have food issues such as ours. That being said, I’ll maintain that I find it difficult to read your original post and not see it as attacking these folks or people who are undertaking similar efforts.

    Anyway, to me, websites like Neighborhoodfruit.com are less about some hoity-toity approach to food (i.e., the idea that people won’t participate in locavorism unless there’s an iPhone app for it) and more about harnessing technology to improve upon old-fashioned practices (in this instance, word-of-mouth).

    And yeah, watch out: I found some rotten fruit by the side of the road, and I’m coming for ya. ;)

  • theteet

    you know what i always say … FUCK URBAN FORAGERS!!!!!!!

    AND iPHONES!!!!!!!!

    Actually, I do stand by that last one.

    hehehehe.

    Kitty just called us the “odd couple.” I think she is right. Why do you put up with me?

  • Jaydubs

    As dangerous as this might be to mention, there’s an interesting article on Salon right now about home canning. Find it here: http://is.gd/1rdJR

    And, as much as we disagree on many food-related issues, I think we can join together in thinking this guy is totally nutso:
    http://is.gd/1rdyD

    And yeah, fuck iPhones.