this blog post from Farmhouse Delivery about an Eater's Bill of Rights actually got me to thinking about the the official reasons for the day and how they relate to one of my favorites topics: food.
I started this blog for varied reasons, and one of them was because I realized that as people were looking at my food photos and notes on Facebook about what I had done with my deliveries—combined with the fact that several people had joined Farmhouse Delivery after looking at them—that I was inadvertently modeling eating habits that are personally, environmentally, and socially healthier. I try not to be too preachy about my politics, as I believe that starting from that point can automatically turn people away and close them off to considering the issue at hand. But part of this was the hope that I could demonstrate through my own choices that changing personal habits is actually easier and more affordable than most people believe... and that it can be enjoyable and bring you pleasure. But there are reasons for it too. Good ones.
I will just offer that when we're relaxing on our 3-day weekends, that there might be some reflection on the why... and that the freedom we were given 235 years ago comes with personal responsibility. Passively expecting that your rights will be upheld is just not reasonable. Everyone of us has to ask questions, stay informed as best as possible, and try to make smart choices that sometimes are less convenient, because in the broader picture they are the right thing and will be better for us all. The answers aren't always known—it's definitely an on-going dialogue and process—but it's worthwhile to engage. I like the blog Politics of the Plate as a source of information, and interestingly enough, the most recent post there is about an interview this past week on Fresh Air with the author about his book Tomatoland. Part of the interview (and book) talks about cases of recent slavery in Florida where people are bought, sold, beaten, and sometimes killed all in order to put tomatoes in grocery stores. That's some seriously messed up stuff (refraining from using stronger language on this blog, though I'd like to in this case). Clearly there is never an excuse for slavery... but, for tomatoes. How more trivial could that reason be?
There is a huge irony in celebrating the concept of freedom in a country where actual slavery still occurs—and most of us don't know about it—but as long as we just take things at face value and accept what's offered to us without knowing it's origins, these things, along with a plethora of other issues wrapped up in the modern food industry, can continue to happen.
So, as you celebrate your holiday and the idea of American freedom, just ask yourself if you are really exercising it. And I'll hop off my soapbox now.