Race, Class, and Community in San Francisco’s Mission District – “A Time of Skinny Cows”

Great article about the (negative) relationship of the food movement to gentrification and therefore culture. We have to know the entire history of our movement (including its elitist characteristics) and acknowledge how our work has positive and negative implications on the less fortunate even as we continue to push its boundaries.
Some quotes from the article that I found useful:

“We think of gentrification principally in terms of real estate, race, and class, but I more often find that food is the thermometer reading the temperature of gentrification.”

“Much of what we call food politics today—buying local, farming organic, eating vegetarian—originally came from collectives that wanted to raise awareness about industrially produced food. The People’s Food System of the mid-’70s was a network of community food stores and small-scale food collectives that organized to take back control of food from large agricultural and chemical companies; they built direct connections to farmers to establish the first farmers’ markets. Meanwhile, the Black Panthers were hosting free community breakfasts in their neighborhoods, and Alice Walters opened Chez Panisse partly as a space to talk about politics. Various collectives shared the urban farm known as the Crossroads Community (The Farm) on Potrero Avenue at the edge of the Mission.
All this activity resulted in a paradox: as radical food politics succeeded, healthy food became commodified as elite food, proving that successful social movements can be gentrified, just like neighborhoods. The best farmers’ market in San Francisco, at the Ferry Building, is also the least affordable, and Waters’ Chez Panisse, the standard-bearer of locally grown, seasonal food, has become one of the most expensive restaurants in Berkeley.”

Read more: http://www.utne.com/arts-culture/san-franciscos-mission-district-zm0z13mazwil.aspx?page=5#ixzz2LGcdfe6r

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