The rustling of plastic bags, the sheen of the waxed tiled floor, the glow of the fluorescent lights overhead, the aisles corralling consumers into respectable lines so the cashiers can swipe their credit cards – it all strikes me as bizarre. I feel like a foreigner peering into an alien land where strange creatures perform peculiar motions. Then I realize that the average North American believes this ritual disconnection from our food is a privilege.
Rachel Penner de Waal


The newsletter from our community farm starts the same way this year as it has the past five: “Produce from the ground will have dirt on it.” I chuckle, but it’s not supposed to be funny. The organic vegetable farm that I have been a member of for almost a decade has lost more members due to the fact that excited newbies, who are anxious to support a farm and eat locally grown produce, quickly lose their revolutionary zeal when they have to wash their weekly distribution of earth-caked food. For some people, the realization that fresh produce might be dirty produce is as unwelcome as the first time they discovered meat came from killing cows. The natural world is anything but natural to us urban dwellers.
Marla Kiley, Denver, Colorado

Issue 8

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 8, Winter 2007, The Future of Food in an Urbanized World.

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