While I was reading “A Locally Grown Diet With Fuss but No Muss” (NY Times) last night, something just didn’t sit right to me. Ok, so you want to be more conscious of where your food is coming from but just hiring someone to do the job for you?? If you have the financial resources and are limited on time, yes, I guess that’s ok. But it just sounds like the whole carbon offset scheme to me, which I heard aptly described as, “paying someone else to stop smoking for you.” Seems like Dot Earth’s Andy Revkin had similar thoughts.
I thought back to what we discussed at the dinner on Sunday – that is, the three “themes” of this discussion about food: Relationships, Time, and Health. Ok, you have a garden in your backyard, but if someone else takes care of it, is that really creating the relationship between you and the source of your food? Do you know each plant and how it grows? Beyond this knowledge, the time you spend growing and preparing your food can be a a source of baraka (blessings). Moreover, gardening can have numerous health benefits, both on a physical (exercise) and spiritual level (reflecting on and taking care of Allah’s creation). Is our modern-day environmentally-conscious individual one who pays someone to tend his garden but then drives down to the street to the health club to use energy consuming gym-equipment?
There are definitely positives to this trend – creating jobs, localizing food production and making it less environmentally destructive/energy intensive, eating in season, etc. Yet what’s the benefit of encouraging people to do a specific thing (ex. eating local food) without understanding the larger purpose of the action (ex. connecting to the productive agricultural community around you)? Like Revkin mentioned, what about nature deficit disorder?
What are your reactions?