Eating represents our most fundamental engagement with the natural world. Our disconnection from food production and preparation has lead to alienation from cultural traditions and rituals.
At the same time the industrialization of meat production and focus on mono culture crops strains environmental sustainability.
We began as Hunter-gatherers, with a rich, varied diet.
Agriculture tied us to the land. We became aware of the seasons and the anxiety of thinking about the weather and the future. In terms of DNA, wheat is one of the most successful species in the history of the planet, being tended to and protected by Sapiens. Same for farm animals: cows, pigs, chickens, are successful in biological terms, though their lives have been increasingly and unspeakably miserable.
A meat based diet consumes enormous amounts of resources, a pound of hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to grow the grains that feed the cows. The use of antibiotics to combat disease in over-stressed livestock diminishes the drugs' effectiveness in treating human illness. The animal excrement that flows from factory farms rivals any city's toxic sludge but is untreated. The carbon footprint of meat is staggering.
The slaughterhouses employ an army of undocumented workers performing one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. Another battalion of workers shows up every day to pick the fruit and vegetables across this land, only to be disparaged by the ignorant in power.
The industrializing of our food has created a generation of the obese and a sugar-soaked citizens; The poor are trapped in food deserts with no nutrition but soda and junk food. Meanwhile, the urban millennials have lost the incentive to cook and every night order in, causing a staggering amount of plastic packaging.
The art of cooking, while celebrated on shows like "Chopped," has been lost. Cooking is a time for reflection, the meal is a time for conversation. How we eat, what we eat, defines our society.
Meanwhile, hunters and fishermen are forced to choose political allegiances based on identity politics, forsaking their love of the wilderness to remain true to GOP and NRA dogma.
We have been totally disconnected from one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity by the divisions of politics.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan