Grocery stores are the intersections of life. They are sites of culture, commerce, and exchange where we traffic in power relations, interpersonal connections, and political commitments. They are stages for enacting liberal guilt and way stations for the study of food politics. I have become highly conscious of this complexity while trying to wean myself of my unhealthy addiction to Walmart. I am getting better. Months pass between my visits to that pernicious place. There are few alternatives, however. Lately the Baton Rouge liberal community developed a deep interest in solving the “food desert” problem. The savings at Walmart are considerable. I force myself to
In Tampa last week, I saw the movie “Food, Inc.” at the Tampa Theatre. The film made me feel sick to my stomach. After seeing it, I don’t want to eat anything ever again. Sort of like I don’t want to /buy/ anything ever again. Of course, I -will- eat, and I -will- shop, but I’m guilt-ridden about it. Food, Inc., was produced by Eric Schlosser, of Fast Food Nation fame. The film is about corporate farming, the food industry, and its effects on animals, humans, and then environment. I learned some harrowing things about the food industry by watching this film. For instance, 1.
I got to thinking about Sweet Honey in the Rock the other day when I was donating my clothing, and I wrote about the politics of second-hand clothing. In learning about what actually happens to donated clothes, I was left with a sick feeling about my own consumption, and how easily I succumb to buying things. I regularly feel guilty about going to Wal-Mart despite full awareness of why shopping there is so utterly wrong. I haven’t reflected on this problem the way I used to in women’s studies classes — the hopeless, “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” feeling you get when your consciousness
I liked but didn’t love the movie Wall-E. The message about the environment, consumption, and technology was apparent. It’s a message that a six year old, and maybe even a four year old, would get. But Frank Rich of the NYT waxes rhapsodic about the movie in the context of this year’s political campaign. He writes: One of the great things about art, including popular art, is that it can hit audiences at a profound level beyond words. That includes children. The kids at “Wall-E” were never restless, despite the movie’s often melancholy mood and few belly laughs. They seemed to instinctually understand what “Wall-E”
Walmart is “going organic.” Wow. Wal-mart is actually breaking into the organic food market. Good or bad? The kid’s organic vegan food is expensive, but Wal-mart is also the devil incarnate. The rub is that Wal-mart violates many of the principles of organic farming. People from the organic foods movement fear that Wal-mart will “greenwash” its products. Also, major food brands are working on developing their own organic products. This is one of those cases where a movement has successfully changed public consciousness, but at great cost to the movement’s principles. Is it a bad thing to want cheaper organic food? From the New York