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METRO TALK SPOKANE’S FOOD CULTURE


and corporate relations for Second Harvest, sees food security in our community and throughout the country as the underpinning of any definition of food culture. Young people need to know how to eat healthy, she insists, and Second Harvest is helping inculcate the art of backyard gardening. Food culture for her and others in Spokane is promoting community-based gardening, which should be good news to Pat Muntz, a Spokane master gardener and community outreach specialist with Spokane County, who helps Spokane develop community gardens and systems of distribution. The reality is food culture as a single


overall concept or definition is impossible to codify in this multicultural society where the roots of growing and cooking are lost arts, and as we’ve become more and more a world dominated by scientists at corporations who are using recombinant genetic technology and other bio-technological processes to “change the very nature of nature.” This is accomplished by doing such things as genetically altering salmon with the genes of a freshwater bass species or putting mold (poisons) into the DNA germ plasm of corn, soy, wheat and cotton to withstand regular drenchings of Roundup Ready pesticide. Despite huge pressures from international


Our local ground produces delicious and healthy food.


Countries (LDCs) increased five- or six- fold between 1992 and 2008. Imports now account for around 25 percent of their current food consumption. These countries are caught in a vicious cycle. The more they are told to rely on trade, the less they invest in domestic agriculture. And the less they support their own farmers, the more they have to rely on trade. This is according to Duncan Green, Head of Research for Oxfam GB and author of From Poverty to Power. That local class covering


“everything


rabbit” was put on by the Main Market and hosted by Jeremy Hansen, chef-owner of Santé. This continuing education course (and so many others) speaks volumes on where Spokane and other small and not-so- small cities have been going with this theme


30 SPOKANE CDA • February • 2012


of a community food culture. Food culture means knowing the farmer


who grew or produced the food. Food culture is the concept of fighting hunger, which in the past three years in the U.S. has skyrocketed. Food culture isn’t just a Sunset Magazine story or Julia Child book. Bad eating and hunger tie into what many in the organic food and locavore movements want to shape into state and national policy, ramified by First Lady Michelle Obama’s edicts to have this country eat better. Spokane’s Second Harvest has seen demand for emergency food double in the past 20 months. People are showing up who had never been in line for food bags – people with college education and degrees. Melissa Cloninger, director of community


business interests, under the weight of homogenization, and under the principle of pushing out small farmers from national farm policy decision-making, Spokane’s food culture includes folk like Lazy R Ranch’s Maurice Robinette, the non-profit Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network, and some faculty at WSU who are taking on the Goliaths of the agro-seed bio- tech industries. The roots of small farm principles and


civil society’s push for social justice when it comes to the “right to food” and food culture are rippling throughout Spokane, the state and the globe. On any given day in Seattle, a person could be hearing the principles of food justice explored in-person with people like Michael Ableman, expert in bio-intensive agriculture (On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm), or Anna Lappe, author of Diet for a Green Planet, or even “vegan punk” author Sarah Kramer (La Dolce Vegan). In fact, those three superstars and others have just recently shown up in Spokane to help realign what it means to germinate and grow a food sense or food culture.


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