Megan Larmer is co-president of Slow Food Chicago, a founding board member of the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project, a restaurant professional, and a newly minted Master Gardener. In 2010 she was a delegate to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre conference.
AE: Filled up or fed up?
ML: Let’s start with what I am fed up with.
ML: I am fed up with this fabricated issue of elitism or class warfare in the current food movement – that eating local or eating organic somehow makes someone more privileged. It’s just not true – and this mentality ultimately hurts the movement and its progress. As Slow Food teaches us, it comes down to good, clean and fair food. No need to over-politicize or over-complicate things.
AE: Good, clean, and fair?
ML: Yes, basically that deriving great pleasure from eating good food is not mutually exclusive to be socially and environmentally responsible. It’s really one and the same. And so we put value on the choices we make. Everything I buy or consume is a choice. It boils down to the question: is this choice going to be “good, clean, and fair”?
AE: Can it be that simple?
ML: Well, it’s better than the irresponsible demonizing that’s happening in the food debate. The goal should be unity however idealistic that may sound. We can only progress if we are all working together toward a goal, and not in constant conflict. And in that regard, we level the playing field if we are all taking responsibility for the system – from big business to individual consumers.
AE: Sounds like you might be filled up, then, if everyone took responsibility for their choices in creating a food system that’s good, clean and fair?
ML: We do live at a pivotal point. We still have to eat to survive, but food is no longer just the sustenance that keeps us alive. Indeed, quite paradoxically, food now has the power to contaminate, corrupt, and otherwise destroy life. Even more, we know this…we know better. And so what are we going to do about it? What am I doing? What are you doing? Right now.