Why Being a Foodie Isn’t ‘Elitist’
At the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting this year, Bob Stallman, the group’s president, lashed out at “self-appointed food elitists” who are “hell-bent on misleading consumers.” His target was the growing movement that calls for sustainable farming practices and questions the basic tenets of large-scale industrial agriculture in America.
The “elitist” epithet is a familiar line of attack. In the decade since my book Fast Food Nation was published, I’ve been called not only an elitist, but also a socialist, a communist and un-American. In 2009, the documentary Food, Inc., directed by Robby Kenner, was described as “elitist foodie propaganda” by a prominent corporate lobbyist. Nutritionist Marion Nestle has been called a “food fascist,” while an attempt was recently made to cancel a university appearance by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, who was accused of being an “anti-agricultural” elitist by a wealthy donor.
This name-calling is a form of misdirection, an attempt to evade a serious debate about U.S. agricultural policies. And it gets the elitism charge precisely backward. America’s current system of food production—overly centralized and industrialized, overly controlled by a handful of companies, overly reliant on monocultures, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, chemical additives, genetically modified organisms, factory farms, government subsidies and fossil fuels—is profoundly undemocratic. It is one more sign of how the few now rule the many. And it’s inflicting tremendous harm on American farmers, workers and consumers.
This name-calling is a form of misdirection, an attempt to evade serious debate about U.S. agricultural policies.
During the past 40 years, our food system has changed more than in the previous 40,000 years. Genetically modified corn and soybeans, cloned animals, McNuggets—none of these technological marvels existed in 1970. The concentrated economic power now prevalent in U.S. agriculture didn’t exist, either. For example, in 1970 the four largest meatpacking companies slaughtered about 21 percent of America’s cattle; today the four largest companies slaughter about 85 percent. The beef industry is more concentrated now than it was in 1906, when Upton Sinclair published The Jungle and criticized the unchecked power of the “Beef Trust.” The markets for pork, poultry, grain, farm chemicals and seeds have also become highly concentrated.
America’s ranchers and farmers are suffering from this lack of competition for their goods. In 1970, farmers received about 32 cents for every consumer dollar spent on food; today they get about 16 cents. The average farm household now earns about 87 percent of its income from non-farm sources.
While small farmers and their families have been forced to take second jobs just to stay on their land, wealthy farmers have received substantial help from the federal government. Between 1995 and 2009, about $250 billion in federal subsidies was given directly to American farmers—and about three-quarters of that money was given to the wealthiest 10 percent. Those are the farmers whom the Farm Bureau represents, the ones attacking “big government” and calling the sustainability movement elitist. Food industry workers are also bearing the brunt of the system’s recent changes.
During the 1970s, meatpackers were among America’s highest-paid industrial workers; today they are among the lowest paid. Thanks to the growth of fast-food chains, the wages of restaurant workers have fallen, too. The restaurant industry has long been the largest employer of minimum-wage workers. Since 1968, thanks in part to the industry’s lobbying efforts, the real value of the minimum wage has dropped by 29 percent…. (click here to continue the article at its source).
By Eric Schlosser, published: April 29
This article originally appeared in the Washington Post
500 CLOWN TRAPPED
premieres May 6 - May 21, 2011
500 Clown presents this play in a co-production with Adventure Stage Chicago
500 Clown is just a bunch of clowns, literally! Hailing from Chicago, this theater company performs theatrical clown for adults and now kids! In their own words, “For years we’ve been asked if we have a show for all ages. Well, we’ve made one. Its for ages 5 and up, with our signature mix of high physicality, raw emotion, and powerful storytelling. In 500 CLOWN TRAPPED we humbly stand upon the shoulders of Keaton, Chaplin, and Looney Tunes; we get entangled in our fair share of slapstick mishaps and vaudevillian turns; we exercise our untiring resilience as well a new set of muscles (literally); and some excellent folks join us for this new ride. 500 Clown Trapped is conceived by Producing Artistic Director Adrian Danzig (who also performs). Paola Coletto directs.
For more info on the show go to 500 Clown and if you want to read even more, read this article about the show in Time Out Chicago Kids.
To purchase tickets visit the Adventure Stage Chicago Box Office.
Thursday, May 5th at 10:45am & 7:00pm
A Eurythmy Festival showcasing the work of students in grades 4 through 11 is scheduled for Thursday, May 5th. There will be both a daytime performance (from 10:45-Noon) and an evening performance (7:00-8:30pm).
Eurythmy is a feature unique to Waldorf education. The beautiful art of eurythmy introduces students to the frameworks underlying speech and music through movement. Development of concentration, spatial orientation and dexterity are enhanced as the rhythms of speech and music are experienced through the whole body.
The Model United Nations (MUN) Team is one of the many student initiative groups (SIGs) available to high school students at CWS. Students join a SIG and participate in that special interest club throughout the year.
Recently Chicago Waldorf School’s Model United Nations Team presented at a Model UN at Northwestern University. Here is a report from team member—and 10th grader—Liam Lundy:
“The conference was attended by more than 500 students from twenty-six high schools from around the eastern United States. CWS students, Cairo Fultz, Clay Shane, Nick Park-Reynolds, Rachel Osran, Vlad Yourtchenko and Seth Brav-McCabe represented Egypt in various UN bodies while Sarah Price represented the Secretary of Communications and I represented a member of the Greek Resistance.
Next year we are looking forward to enlarging the MUN program and going to two conferences. Model UN is a great program. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about international relations, practice public speaking, develop writing skills, and have a great time while doing so. I have done MUN for three years now and my public speaking skills, writing ability and knowledge about the world have greatly benefited.”
David Massie is faculty advisor to the CWS Model UN Team. He added this reflection,
“...Representing the Egyptian delegation, our students prepared for this conference by studying Egypt’s modern history and its position on specific current issues. They arrived on campus armed with position papers they had written on their assigned topics, such as atomic energy, food and agriculture, and the international Olympic movement. Participating in this event allowed the students to practice the arts of debate and coalition building. After their four day adventure, our team felt a much-deserved sense of accomplishment…”
Other SIG opportunities for High School students include Student Council, The Green Team, Student Ambassadors, Yearbook, Amnesty International and more.
The beautiful flower crown on the little girl in the 2011 CWS Mayfair mailer and poster?
Someone in our community made that!
Please join the CWS community to make flower crowns this Friday, May 13 any time between 8am and 3pm, in the entrance/lobby of the Auditorium. Stop by and make just one (or as many as you have time for!). All materials will be supplied, and helpful instructors will be on hand.
Dive in to a summer of Waldorf-inspired activities at the Chicago Waldorf School Summer Camp
The camp is lead by CWS teacher, Ileana Valencia, who has been with the school for 20 years, is the current Chair of the Foreign Language Department, and is a trained teaching mentor. She will be joined by two assistants.
● Arts ● Nature Crafts ● Sports ● Explore the Neighborhood ● Beach Afternoons ●
● Free Play ● Weekly Field Trips ● Age Appropriate Activities ● And More… ●
Enroll your children in CWS summer camp in as many week-long sessions as you wish.
The sessions run from June 13 - July 29, 2011 from 9:00am - 3:00pm
Early drop-off begins at 8:15am
Week 1: June 13 - June 17 Week 5: July 11 - July 15
Week 2: June 20 - June 24 Week 6: July 18 - July 22
Week 3: June 27 - July 1 Week 7: July 25 - July 29
Week 4: July 5 - July 8
Rates: $200/week (for 30 camp hours) plus a one-time $60 supply fee
$160 for July 5-8 (week 4 has only 4 days due to the July 4th holiday)
For more information—or to receive or submit a camp application form—contact Maureen Flannery at the Chicago Waldorf School: 773.465.2662 or email@example.com
3rd Annual Chicago Fiddle Camp at CWS
June 20-24 from 9:30am-3:00pm
The camp is run by CWS former musical instructor, Zack Kline, and is open to students looking for an immersion experience playing string instruments (violin, viola, cello & bass). The camp will run June 20-24 from 9:30am-3:00pm each day. Students will be immersed in fiddle tunes, creative exercises and improvising, as well as musical games.
Enroll your kids now! Early registration (before May 13) is $350, after which it is $400.
We also have discounts for CWS faculty, and for multiple siblings attending. Camp is open to violin, viola, cello and bass students of all levels. One school year of experience is necessary. Sign up sheets are at www.chicagofiddlecamp.com. Direct your questions to Zack at firstname.lastname@example.org
CWS Senior Prom 2011
Saturday, May 7th from 8:00pm - 11:00pm
In the CWS gymnasium / 1300 W Loyola Avenue
Theme: formal black and white
Black and white attire encouraged
We encourage you to please invite your friends!
Guests from outside the school are welcome to attend.*
$35.00 per ticket (*Special price for non-CWS friends: $30 per ticket)
Contact Catherine Herzog, HS Office Manager, to purchase tickets.