Reading ‘The Pleasures of Eating’ by Wendell Berry

The activity that impacted me the most thus far in my freshmen seminar class, “iEatThere4iAm,” was the article “The Pleasures of Eating” by Wendell Berry. The article was memorable because it was very informative and made me start to think about my food. It shocked me that “food, in the mind of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land.”

People are just mindlessly eating foods that they know nothing about. The concept of eating in season is very interesting to me, and I would like to try it. Eating in season is important because you learn to eat certain foods when they would naturally grow in the nearest region. Eating locally is important because local food companies grow and sell more naturally grown food, and they are better for you.

There is a list of what people like me can do to better enjoy eating food in this article:

“1. Participate in food production to the extent that you can. If you have a yard or even just a porch box or a pot in a sunny window, grow something to eat in it. Make a little compost of your kitchen scraps and use it for fertilizer. Only by growing some food for yourself can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy cycle that revolves from soil to seed to flower to fruit to food to offal to decay, and around again. You will be fully responsible for any food that you grow for yourself, and you will know all about it. You will appreciate it fully, having known it all its life.

2. Prepare your own food. This means reviving in your own mind and life the arts of kitchen and household. This should enable you to eat more cheaply, and it will give you a measure of ‘quality control’: you will have some reliable knowledge of what has been added to the food you eat.

3. Learn the origins of the food you buy, and buy the food that is produced closest to your home. The idea that every locality should be, as much as possible, the source of its own food makes several kinds of sense. The locally produced food supply is the most secure, freshest, and the easiest for local consumers to know about and to influence.

4. Whenever possible, deal directly with a local farmer, gardener, or orchardist. All the reasons listed for the previous suggestion apply here. In addition, by such dealing you eliminate the whole pack of merchants, transporters, processors, packagers and advertisers who thrive at the expense of both producers and consumers.

5. Learn, in self-defense, as much as you can of the economy and technology of industrial food production. What is added to the food that is not food, and what do you pay for those additions?

6. Learn what is involved in the best farming and gardening.

7. Learn as much as you can, by direct observation and experience if possible, of the life histories of the food species.”

Before reading this I had not known the importance of knowing the origins of the food I buy. It is important to stay informed about food, so you are not taken advantage of by the food industry. Food industries will try anything and everything to get us to eat their product. That is rather frightening. Eating should be pleasurable, but it should also be knowledgeable.

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