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After preprepared “The Pleasure of Eating” by Wendell Berry, my concept has changed forever on how I grocery shop. In the opinion of Berry, he says, we should “eat responsibly,” meaning have an awareness of the food that we are consuming. Berry points out how we are not paying attention to where or how our food is processed. We purchase it from the shelves of the store and go home to eat it. Wendell explains to his readers should think of eating as an “agricultural act” instead of thinking of food as an “agricultural product”.
He is hoping this will steer us to a considerable understanding of the problematic connections with our food and our responsibilities in its production. I agree with Berry because it is unsafe and thoughtless on our behalf to purchase food without any data on its background. We could be consuming dangerous chemicals, but how could we know if the questioning is ignored? In his defense I suspect Berry came to his conclusion based on his personal experiences as a farmer, I agree in his case we should” eat responsibly,” but I think this could be a bit difficult to get everyone on the same page because some people are stubborn.
Berry explains that “eating is an agricultural act, implying that “we are consumers, as we buy what we want within our limits and what they, the food industry companies persuade us to buy.” Basically, like it or not, everyone is involved in agriculture, whether intended or unintended and how we purchase food and consume it will form how our land and surroundings are treated.
With this, we are ignoring important questions, “How fresh is it? How pure or clean is? Is it chemical-free? How far was it transported and what did transportation add to the cost?”
As Berry states, “When food, in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous. The current version of the “dream home” of the future involves “effortless” shopping from a list of available goods on a television monitor and heating precooked food by remote control. Of course, this implies and depends on, a perfect ignorance of the history of the food that is consumed.” Because of how easy it is to buy packaged foods; consumers ignore the circumstances of the meals until it appears on the grocery store shelves, and even after buying, the conditions are still ignored. We are persistently searching for the simplest way to obtain the next meal, regardless if it’s fast food or a frozen prepared dinner becoming lazy about what we consume. At the same time, the food industry is blindsiding us into favoring food that is already prepared. Has destroyed the agricultural work giving us the satisfaction of growing, delivering, and cooking our food.
If the industrial food companies could find a way to gain profit for pre-chewing our food and feed it to us, they would. “When food in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous.” Berry’s explanation of this is we are giving up our knowledge of the history of our food and handing overall control and freedom to someone else. The main reason to eat responsibly is to live free, but how can we live free if someone is controlling our food and its origin? Berry states, “Like any politics, it involves our freedom. By giving someone else the control, we neglect to understand that we cannot be free unless our food is free.”
The food industry is more concerned with volume and quality of their products rather than our health. Berry expresses “as scale increases, diversity declines; as diversity declines, so does health,” the food industry is taking shortcuts to produce food by any means to increase their profits and use advertisements for food ideas to keep consumers persuaded that prepared food or fast food is healthy. That is where the dependence on drugs and chemicals becomes required. The food advisement convinces us what we’re eating is tasty, healthy, and will assure to give us a longevity. This economic system is a trap. Berry believes to escape this problem is to “recognize the food problem as a whole and how eating is unavoidable.
We need to understand the difficult connection between our food and responsibilities in its production. To fix that we must take part in food productions. Berry tells us “to eat responsibly is to understand and enact, so far as we can, this complex relationship. What can one do?” Here is his recommendation list: take part in food productions by preparing our meals, learn food sources, learn about good farming, learn from observation and experiences, grow own food, and deal with local farmers.
The knowledge of the excellent health of the garden relieves and frees comforts the eater. Berry’s defined this as growing your own garden is a step to becoming connected and knowledgeable or your food and it will supply reassurance. He reveals “the pleasure of eating should be an extensive pleasure, not that of the mere gourmet. People who know the garden in which their vegetables have grown and know that the garden is healthy.” When we make an effort to take his advice, a healthy life will follow.
I agree with him about being more well-informed about my food’s sources and its background, even though I agree with him, but I’m under the impression that he’s making the food industries seem like they’re out to get you. The way he described the industry as a “trap” was a bit intense. When I read the essay, I found myself having mixed feeling the entire time. Wendell Berry is correct on telling myself, and others should know about the process, and we consume daily. Berry did a great job of bringing in his arguments with the tone of his article and repeating suggetions. I feel that Berry has influenced me to change the way I buy my food. I have been shopping blind and clueless my whole life.
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