While our televisions and colour supplements churn out food pornography, the adverts between programming churn out the junk food lifestyle. We know who eats the junk and who eats the prime cuts. Folk on low incomes spend a lot on food. The prices of food in the East End, and the West End of the city is comparable in “cost” but at extreme ends in quality and choice. People in less trendy parts of town, eat junk food, because it is available and on the surface is cheap – not because it is poison and there are plenty alternative outlets in their neighbourhood.
But the people who are starting to change all of that, are not the retailers or the wholesalers but local folk themselves. There is a stack of gardening projects sprouting up all over the place. People are learning about composting, soil types, poly tunnels, plant rotation, and discussing vegetables with new found knowledge and pride. Folk are finding their places in the growing process and where they can use their particular skills, be it administration, maintenance, or just general support – and most of it is being done not by money, but by sweat equity.
It is not just about growing food it is also about the conversation around food the sharing of recipes from grandmother to daughter to grand daughter and reawakening the traditions of the kitchen. The gender barriers of the kitchen have been lifted as young boys are enjoying the cooking as well as the growing. Feeding yourself is cool.
The young ones
The closer our young people get to the food they eat the healthier they will be. Being concerned about the sell by date is no criterion for health and well-being. The rise in diabetes and obesity connected to eating processed food is particularly worrying in the young. The organisation of the garden makes us more aware and sensitive of the elements, of the weather, the seasons, what we eat, when we eat it, and when we need to do things. How we creatively engage young people in the importance of what they eat is a major challenge but one that will lead them to many more open doors of adventure and possibilities.
Around the cultures
The rich variety of spices, herbs breads and recipes from all over and their socialising effect can be experienced in the variety of events by folk from other countries that brings a new dynamic and cultural diversity to the table. Food is part of our culture and connects our geography and place. The sharing of food is the symbolic sharing of our culture. Junk food, helps to destroys these cultural connections.
“Open Happiness 125 years
Delicious and refreshing for 125 years. Our secret? Actually, it’s our secret formula. Crisp and zesty on the first sip. Smooth and rich by the last. For 125 years we,ve been proud to refresh the world. And we are just getting started.” Advert on Coca Cola napkin