On March 31st I attended the Good Food Day LA Festival and panel in downtown Los Angeles. First things first, my afternoon started with mahi mahi ceviche and avocado tacos from The Border Grill (amazing!). Then I went to find a seat for the food justice panel.
You would think that a city like Los Angeles, hailed as "the center of the food justice movement" by one of the panelists, would have little trouble accessing the bounty of produce grown in the nearby central valley. But the system here is just as broken as other regions, and many local organizations are working tirelessly to help ensure better distribution of healthy food.
Muthoni Muriu from Oxfam America discussed food as a commodity, suggesting that those who control the global food supplies are in it for the money and power. We have more than enough food to go around, its our distribution systems that are broken. She said: ""We have more than enough food. Hunger is about power. Power controls who eats and does not." I wondered how these people justify their selfish actions instead of assisting those who desperately need food. To them, food is nothing but a commodity.
To sum up our food system, a thought from restaurant critic Jonathan Gold:
"Food is too cheap. What happens at an industrial level to get chicken to be $0.69/lb. is horrific."
This is the world we live in. Sometimes it's easy to walk away from convenings and conferences with an overwhelming sense that much still needs to be accomplished, and I certainly felt that, but there are two sides to every coin. Good Food Day LA also reminded me of the positive ways that the food system is beginning to change, and made me proud to live in a city that's fighting the fight.