We love our food, don't we?


As I write this at the top of the week, it is Valentine's Day and my husband, ever the chef, is gifting me this evening with an especially artful meal.  Here in San Francisco in 2011, his creative options reflect an embarrassment of riches -- sources both local and global, fresh and preserved, and in vast variety once unimaginable.


Through innovation in the business of food, we have achieved amazing advances, and nowhere is it experienced, enjoyed and taken for granted more than by me.


As with most forms of progress, a long shadow is cast by this bright yet angled light.  The food industry, truly amazing in its efficiencies and reach, has also distanced itself and its audience -- physically, psychically, and too-often nutritionally -- from the living systems that are the source of our food. The quality of our relationship with food has come under strain. 


Unfettered progress comes at a price. The toll taken by transnational transportation; the vulnerabilities created by crop monocultures; the plant and animal specimens that have been nutritionally depleted, antibiotically supercharged or inhumanely managed -- all challenge our sustainability.  They challenge the sustainability of our energy supplies (read: future operational options), our climates (read: future land-use and water management), our biodiversity (read: future beauty, resilience and protection from famine), and our health (read: future vitality).   Over time and in the name of progress, an honorable and essential industry has silently and (for the most part) unintentionally been undermining the structural systems critical to its own mission.  It doesn't have to be this way.


We love our food, don't we?  

As with all challenged relationships, it may be time for a fresh conversation and for a new point of view.  It may be time for remembering, restructuring, re-imagining.  It may be time to take stock, realign and re-invent our way.  


It may be time for more innovation in the personal and professional business of food.

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Sue Lebeck 

  Cool Block Platform Director

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