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Slow Food Attitude

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Cape Chef asked me to move the conversation over here, so here's the new thread.

Phatch had a problem with the Slow Food movement - here's what he said:

Phil, I have been wrestling with this misconception a great deal, and trying to figure out its roots. Perhaps you can help me.

My dictionary says that elite means: "the choice or most carefully selected part of a group, as in a society of profession." (and also a kind of typewriter). Is there something wrong with a group of people who believe that the Delaware Bay Oyster, or Hand-Parched Wild Rice, or the Suncrest Peach (among hundreds of other foods) are items that are worth preserving? What about the way of life of the Uzbek goat herder or the Tibetan yak's milk cheese maker or a sumatran coffee grower? Is there something wrong with wanting these things to continue to exist? Because that's what Slow Food does.

The dictionary also says that (besides being a shoemaker) a snob is "a person who attaches great importance to wealth, social position, etc., having contempt for and keeping aloof from those whom he considers his inferiors, often one admiring, imitating, and seeking to associate with those whom he considers his superiors" ALSO "A person who regards himself as better than others in some (specified) way and behaves undemocratically."

Aside from its ability to feed and educate my children, I attach no great importance to wealth, and Slow Food as an organization doesn't have enough money to do so. As for the "contempt" and "aloof” parts of the definition, as well as the "admiring and imitating" parts, we certainly don't do that with regard to people. If we do it with regard to food (and we do), it is only because we see those foods as under threat of extinction from the onslaught of the industrialization and standardization of foods and flavor, and wish to protect them.

I see no snobbery whatsoever in protecting farmers and artisans and the food they produce. I see no snobbery at all in teaching elementary school children to taste foods consciously and conscientiously. I see no snobbery in drawing closer connections between a community and its local farmers. This is what Slow Food does.

If we throw some big, fancy-schmansy dinners along the way, what’s wrong with that? It’s what keeps most of the people on this forum (including me) gainfully employed.

Perhaps you meant, through insinuation or otherwise, that we are "intellectuals." If so, then to that I plead guilty on behalf of the movement, and myself, since I have never understood the negative connotations that some in our society have attached to that word. I for one would be proud to have the word applied to me, if it can be, because it means “of or done by the intellect; appealing to the intellect; requiring or using intelligence; having or showing a high degree of intelligence.” Slow Food sounds pretty smart to me.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #2 of 26
http://slowfood.com/eng/sf_ita_mondo/sf_usa.lasso

Sounds admirable to me, and I had my first heritage turkey last November. I wonder who I should thank for that?
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
You should thank the farmer who raised it, but I've no doubt you did that ;) . How 'bout your lucky stars? Maybe it's for another thread, but how'd you prepare it? (I smoked one and deep fried the other this past year)

Thanks for posting our international website there, CC. As long as we're mentioning the websites, get a load of these!

Slow Food USA
The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
The University of Gastronomic Sciences
Terra Madre
Terra Madre Forum

Also, at The Slow Food Forum, there is a List of all the local convivium websites
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #4 of 26
Note that my primary complaint was politics. My feelings about "elitism and snobbery" stem from that.

We all know my politics and economics diverge strongly from most of you here.

If Slow Food were to get out of politics, I would be much more interested in them and supportive of them.

Phil
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
OK, well, this is interesting. Allowing for the fact that, especially in this country, having an opinion about just about anything can & will be construed as political, I'd like to know how you see Slow Food as involved in politics.

The organization is non-partisan, has never backed any candidate for office, and has no politicians as members (that I know of, but there are 12,000 of us in the US and 80,000 worldwide, so, hard to be sure).

We almost never have politicians speak to us at our gatherings, in fact now it's even against our bylaws. Before it was, we did have a presidential candidate speak to our Natioanl Convention, but that's because he was the Governor of the state where we met.

Slow Food USA has never lobbied congress or spoken to a committee. Slow Food in Europe has done so for the EU, but only at the EU's invitation.

So yes, we have some very strong opinons which I alluded to in an earlier post, but we are not involved in politics except on the very lowest, grass-roots & personal levels.

On the Slow Food Forum, you will see posts suggesting that people should back this or that legislation (I even post some myself), but it is clearly never the official position of the movement, any more than my doing so here would imply that such was the position of CC and everybody who runs this marvelous forum.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #6 of 26
The Forum was what convinced me I wanted no part of it.

Phil
post #7 of 26
I'm kind of surprised to see that my opinions became the point when Glenn's were driving the other thread.

Phil
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Wow, really? Please quote the stuff that "convinced you."

And as for why you "opinions became the point when Glenn's were driving the other thread," it's just because you were more succinct. I'm interested in continuing this discussion with both of you. :bounce:
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #9 of 26
I really don't have the time nor the inclination to go look it all up again particularly because it doesn't seem likely to be a productive discussion.

I'd post what I didn't like, others would defend it. He said, she said.

I have no agenda to bring Slow Food down. I just don't want to be a part of what it is.

Phil
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sorry you feel that way, but in the original thread (http://www.cheftalkcafe.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=13095 ) where I got your quote, you didn't say anything about what the politics that bothered you were, save for agreeing with what Food Junkie said...

I think that was all pretty tongue-in-cheek, don't you?

Well, yeah, I guess, but isn't that a discussion? What are these forums for? I sure can't make you post, but I would like to understand your thoughts and opinions

Didn't think you had an "agenda." I'm merely trying to get a grasp of what you and others have found "elitist," "snobby," or "too political" about the movement.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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post #11 of 26
I'd post what I didn't like, others would defend it. He said, she said.

Well, yeah, I guess, but isn't that a discussion?

It's a discussion of sorts. I just don't see it going anywhere I want to go.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, OK, don't then I guess. You are not the only person I was asking, I just used your comments to make a point. I would like for anyone/everyone to jump in on either side and help me understand the point of view you and others hold.

Can anyone out there repond to the points I made to start the thread?
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #13 of 26
Devotay,
After a bit more reading of Slow Food, I'd have to say I basically agree with the sentiments of phatch. Although many of the goals of Slow Food are admirable, I don't want to be part of it. There are too many examples of politics and elitism in its forums.
As phatch says, I'm not going to go reciting them, as it will lead nowhere but a futile round of "He said... She said". Perhaps our definition of elitism doesn't fit your dictionary definiton of elitism you posted earlier, but whatever you want to call it, others including phatch and I, find it not to our liking, however it is defined. That's my opinion. You can take it, or leave it. If you were only looking for opinions to agree with yours, I wouldn't have replied.

Good luck with forum. I wish it well, and it's fine for some people. It's just not for me.

-- best wishes,

Glenn
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, I've understood from the start that Slow Food is not to your liking or to Phil's. I understand you find it elitist and snobby. What I don't understand is the how's and why's of finding it elitist and snobby, and that's what I'm trying to figure out. Not to "convert" either of you, believe me, I'm not the prostheletizing type. I'm just trying to gain a handle on what makes the organization appear elitist & snobby to you.

See what I mean? You wouldn't want those labels attached to an organization you're affiliated with, would you? And if you believed them to be erroneous, then wouldn't you try to root out the causes of that false impression? That's all I'm trying to do.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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post #15 of 26
Devotay,
I understand your question. I'm just not sure I can give an answer. It's one of those things where I know it when I see it, but can't necessarily define it. If I think of a better way to express myself, I'll post it here in the future.

It's kind of like that old saying from a judge years ago. "I don't have a definition for obscenity, but I know it when I see it." (No, I'm not saying your forum is obscene. I'm just saying it's hard for me to give a definition of elitism in the way I find it.)

But, whatever it is, more people than phatch and I find it that way. Also I came to that opinion before reading phatch's review of it. I developed the same sentiments independent of phatch or others. Then I found out that some (many?) others feel the same. If I can better put a finger on it, I'll let you know.

Best luck with the forum.

Glenn
post #16 of 26
Dear Devotay,

European history of the slow food movement and it's politics aside, I think that there can be no real discussion of modern cuisine without acknowledging the impact that the slow food movement has had on the concept of using local, organic and seasonal products to acheive a superior culinary result.

This approach to cooking, as I witness daily by shopping in my local farmers market for most ingredients, cannot help but have some socio economic impact... that said, at the end of the day, the food is fresher, tastier, safer to eat and the people I cook for better for it.

I think it imprudent to turn a blind eye to where our food stuffs come from, how they are grown/bred and at what cost since, when all is said and done it is people who will bear that cost... not to talk of the plastic looking, tasting food... I FEEL SORRY FOR THE FOOD!

I personally chose to bear a deep sense of responsibility for what I do as a professional cook... what I produce impacts people, and that my friend, is serious business.

Keep up the awareness campaign....
This lady's name is 'Dude' !
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This lady's name is 'Dude' !
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post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hmmmm.... OK. Well, anyone?

Clearly so. Is it - and I swear I don't mean this to be patronizing - is it just that we're right about some things? I mean, do people find it pretentious that we talk about the benefits and logic of a Slow Food approach?

Phil & Glenn "know (elitisim & snobbery) when they see it" but can't tell me what it is that they see.

Perhaps it's because I'm inside the Movement that I can't see it. But that's why I'm asking others.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #18 of 26
First off, this is, in no way, an attack on Slow Food. Though I don't currently belong to this organization, I agree with many of their philosophies and goals. That said, I do see where Phil and Glenn are coming from. Though I feel Slow Food does it's best to keep its goals "real" and "grounded" there are numerous people that use the organization as a "soapbox" to grandstand from. Slow Food is not the only organization that this happens to. It seems anytime a group tries to make a socio-, political, or economic impact they are often convicted of elitism, or self-righteousness because of, what is often a very vocal minority of members, that grandstand for the cause. It is these few members that create the environment of self-righteousness that often causes people to avoid the cause for fear of being labelled the same. It is these few members that cause ill will towards the cause because of their self-righteous "preaching" to those that don't follow or agree with the philosophies. Do I see this in the Slow Food movement? Yes I do. Do I think that they truly represent the Slow Food movement? No I don't, but I do see how this very vocal minority has the ability to cause others to see the whole movement as self-righeous and elitist.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
OK, Pete, thank you. That helps.

So as with most problems, most misunderstandings between humans, it is a problem of communication breakdown. Some (only a few, says Pete) put across their beliefs in local, sustainable cuisine in such a way as to make it seem elitist. Have I got that right? It's as if their saying "MY way to live is FAR superior to YOUR way to live, so you're a lower form of life." Or at least, it's interpreted that way by the listener. Am I beginning to catch on?

What is it about seeking out the best in something and telling people about it that makes people seem snobby? It's especially so with food, wine, & anything artistic. If I were to say to you that the Hemi V8 is much better than the VorTec engine, you might agree or disagree with me, but you probably wouldn't think I was a car snob.

I guess it has to do with tone. Some can find it hard, and maybe I'm one of these, to communicate a good idea without having it come across that way. I'll keep working on it.

I honestly don't mind, don't care, if people want to eat at olive garden or grow 7000 acres BE Corn. What I and the rest of Slow Food believe is that there can be deterimental effects to these activities, so we're trying to stop those from happening.

Folks might enjoy the olive garden bread sticks, and have a virtual religious experience eating them, and that's great, good for them. But it's unfortunate that places like the olive garden wipe out little local cafe's the way wal-mart or menard's wipe out mom & pop hardware stores.

See? So it's not the proliferation of agribusiness and chain restaurants we object to, it's the detrimental effects they can have to the what is, in our opinion, the good stuff.

Am I being a snob?
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #20 of 26
That pretty much sums up what I was trying to say. I think this is the issue that has caused Phil and Glenn to feel the way they do, though I can't completely speak for them.

But here, Devotay, your logic goes far afield. Your argument has a gaping hole in it. The second statements you make, in no way reflect the statements in the first quote. The first set of statements are elitist and snobby because they put down someone because they don't believe the same way, while the second is only a stated opinion of the person. That is in no way elitist or snobby. Stating the fact that I prefer Stag's Leap Cab over Reunite is fine. Its how I believe. It doesn't make any judgement calls about either Stag's Leap or Reunite. But if I were to state that I prefer Stag's Leap over Reunite and you are an unsophisticated fool for prefering Reunite then that becomes a snobby elitist statement.

That is exactly it!!! It doesn't have to do with the message at all, only how that message is presented. BTW, I don't think you fall into the snob or elitist catagory at all. I have always been impressed by your thoughts and feelings on the subject of Slow Food, but I think that it is due to your "down to earth" approach of the subject, and devotion to the subject that you have failed to see the harm that some have caused to your group by getting on their "soapboxes" and preaching that their way is "the only way".
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
OK, catchin' on now (guess I'm "slow" in more ways than one!)

What I have to do now is try to see the examples of this for myself. Being so deeply entrenched in the Movement, it's hard to see this stuff. Maybe because they are saying stuff I usually already agree with, I don't necessarily notice their tone.

I can sure understand people's frustration with that perception, though. As an omnivore, I often have that sort of problem with a very specific type of vegetarian, who thinks that I am responsible for all the ills in the world because I'll eat a baby cow if given the chance.

I shall work to root this "snobbery" thing out of the movement as best I can, but I shall have to learn to identify it first. Right now, all I can see is the reaction to it.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #22 of 26
Don't even get me started on the militant vegetarians!!!!! :D :D :D
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #23 of 26
bellingham wa is a BIG slowfood movement town. i've been actively
'scouted' by them, in fact, at the local farmers market where they
have a stand. the elitism people are talking about is probably that
subtle curl of the lip when you slip up and mention grocery market
food around them. no, im not painting them all with the same brush,
but there is a certain type of person who joins groups and volunteers to man the information booth...
and yes, in the larger meaning of the word slowfood IS political. not a bad thing. politics is just everyday life, kids.
neither is slowfood a bad thing-im mostly there. but dont give me attitude if i get a yen to cook with canned soup.
heres the problem. they are preaching to the choir. why arent they out
in front of the quickstop or the chain grocery where people could actually
benefit from the education? someone PATIENTLY explaining to me about
the evils of corporate farming while im buying locally is just annoying.
slowfood is important and good!!! now hand me the pringles.
post #24 of 26
food is political. Check out STL Post Dispatch's article today (Wed. Apr.13) biz section by Repps Hudson.
I've invited Slow Food to be apart of Clayton Farmer's Market during Apple Fest for the past couple of years......Beki Marsh samples out a dozen or so varieties of apples. Nothing militant.
Last year I was sourced for an article on elitism and Slow Food.....my response was that you can chose to sit and eat as a family, you can plant a community garden space or shop from local farmers....it's not a money thing, it's an attitude and a sense of what's valuable to you and yours.
No judgements, just making options known.....there are seasons in life that alter how we live....if today's children do not know the flavors of various varities then the varieties will become one and there will be NO choices.
:(
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Amen, Shroom, well said.

Lately I have felt that it's of no use to try to convince people that we are not elitists or snobs. I think that folks who jump to such conclusions are gonna do so no matter what we say or do. We build gardens in schools (including right there in STL); we send support to victims of disasters like the Shepherd's Way Farm and the Indian ocean Tsunami; we built the worlds first University of Gastonomic Science and a worldwide network of sustainable family farms and artisans. Still all some folks see only the $100/plate dinners that finance the good work we do.

I'm starting to say "OK fine. I'm sorry you see it that way, I'd like to change your mind, but I have to get back work on changing the food system."
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #26 of 26
you have a lot of grace and class standing your ground. sorry if i came off snarky.
i agree with slowfood. the constriction of genetic diversity in the food supply is a creeping evil that hardly anyone is aware of; i would never have known
about it save that i garden and ran across it in the literature there. thats
also where i learned about frankenfood. imagine anyone getting peeved about
a little insecticide engineered into their vegetables? and speaking as someone who worked in a plant nursery and had access to the trade literature, let me tell you thats the least of what they can make plant tissue do. they can make it impossible for a given strain to ever, ever cross pollinate, or throw uncontrolled viable seed. they do it now with patented bedding plants. and guess who's patiently trying to narrow the field down to just their brand of engineered vegetable seed????? big ag, honey.
i live in the middle of farm country, where people directly to either side of me
grow food. they're under a lot of very slick, well researched pressure to align themselves with corporations that deliver a 'package deal' of feed, seed, controls and harvesting/storage supplies and claim they're saving the farmer money in doing so.... while taking control of the land, effectively, out of the farmers hands. fortunately lots of these farmer types aren't stupid; they know whats happening. however this is a real thing. its really happening and it isnt the lib arts hippie conspiracy paranoia i kind of assumed it was 10 years ago.
see, now im on MY soapbox. but i still want pringles.
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