Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Food, politics and the 2008 Food Issue

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 8:55 PM

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Our 2008 Food Issue hit the streets today. When conceiving of this year's food issue, I struggled with whether to do another piece on local eating. I covered the same topic in my 2006 food issue, although from a very different angle. When I arrived in Atlanta in 2006, it seemed that the city was way behind in terms of its awareness of the local eating movement, so I covered the chefs who were at the forefront of bringing awareness to their customers. This year, I wanted to cover local producers - the folks living in Georgia who make local eating possible. So I decided to frame the issue around a week of totally local eating. And it was heartening to find out that even I, who has been thinking about this topic for years, had some things to learn about what we have to offer here in Georgia.

So, while the local eating theme has been visible for a couple of years now, I decided that it was still important enough to cover in a new way. That the issue coincided with the final stretch of this election cycle was a coincidence, but it turns out that the election is spurring others to talk about local food as well. If you haven't already, you really should check out Michael Pollan's open letter to the next president, which appeared in the October 9th New York Times Magazine Food Issue. You can also listen to Terry Gross' Fresh Air interview with Pollan, which aired on Monday. I find the most interesting part of the interview to be where Pollan addresses whether or not the local food movement is an inherently elitist movement, driven by wealthy foodies. Of course, there is that aspect to it, but Pollan makes a convincing argument for how and why we need to move beyond that perception.

Even if you did see CL's food issue in the paper, make sure to check out the online version, which has tons of extras: a guide to local food resources, recipes from local chefs, and a photo gallery of Mike Buckner milling local flour at his home in Junction City.

(photo by Joeff Davis)

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