When Food Guidelines Become Political Battlegrounds

It’s a paradox: most American citizens have no idea that the US administration is revising its dietary guidelines. In fact, they might not even be familiar with the current recommendations – and even if they are, they’d be hard-pressed to change their eating habits due to these publications. This reality however does not prevent industry organizations and lobbying groups from … Continue reading When Food Guidelines Become Political Battlegrounds

On Roots and Wings

As I glance out at the grey German January clouds, pines swaying in the blustering wind outside, I am thinking about being in a different country in a week and on a different continent in a month with a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety. Of course the unknown is scary, especially for us that love to plan our every step, and there are enough motivational quotes that tell us to “do at least one thing that scares us every day” or that “life starts outside of your comfort zone”. But there is more on my mind than just the prospect of moving to a different country where I know no-one – I’ve done that before, though I was mostly lucky to gather a social network pretty quickly. Rather, it is a certain questioning of how quickly, and many times more, I want to make such a location change. It’s funny to even ask because I’ve always characterized myself as a “world citizen” without strong roots in any particular place, enjoying the here-and-now and the friendships that develop in any particular part of the world. Yet, as my times of being a student come to a close (6 years in which I moved every single year, and lived in 4 different countries), and I’m blessed with the possibility of trying out different careers and different places, I’m starting to realize that the urge for continuity is getting stronger. Of picking up hobbies again, joining clubs with the expectation of being a member for more than one season, and making groups of friends that will not disperse to the four corners of the globe in a few months. It’s a curious affliction of my generation that we have the choice to an international lifestyle and have to consciously weigh the advantages and disadvantages that come with it. I do not mean to discount the privilege of seeing different places and encountering many cultures, but despite our technological possibilities of staying in touch it can be profoundly lonely at times.

Yet, I would venture another observation – that even among us that are staying put for longer than a couple of months, meaningful social connections, and the creation of a community, are not automatic. Here is where I see a lot of optimism and potential in the food movement, particularly the grassroots efforts to build up small-scale farms and their networks of customers through CSAs.

My friendly neighborhood CSA in Brussels that I would have loved to help out with, had I stayed.
My friendly neighborhood CSA in Brussels that I would have loved to help out with, had I stayed.

Continue reading “On Roots and Wings”