The Good News!

On his way out the door of the New York Times (which is not the good news), Mark Bittman stopped off to talk to his adoring public through an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered over the weekend.  It’s worth listening to if you missed it, but even the highlights in the transcript also remind us why we will miss his voice.  http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/10/03/445580304/mark-bittman-is-stepping-down-but-he-still-has-more-to-say-about-food

His is no longer a voice in the wilderness along with Michael Pollan’s and Alice Waters’ – they have been joined by  many others across the country. I was reminded that from his perch at the NY Times, he has seen from on-high what I have also seen over the last 12 years of working with farmers’ markets, which is that we can afford to be optimistic that the balance in favor of Big Food has been altered and that more and more people are coming home, literally, to grow more of their own food, buy more locally-grown food, and make more of their own meals at home.  And that all of those personal decisions add up to a collective demand for the availability of healthier food.
Just look at these headlines gleaned from three newspapers that I read regularly over the last year:
HARD TIMES FOR SOFT DRINKS, NY Times Business section, October 3, 2015
AMERICA STARTS TO PUSH AWAY FROM THE PLATE, NY  Times, July 26, 2015
HEATHIER KIDS OPTIONS TAKE ROOT AT MCDONALDS, Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2015
SODA BITES THE DUST IN MEAL FOR CHILDREN, WSJ, MAY 15, 2015
FDA MOVES TO COMBAT SUPERBUGS, WSJ, June 3, 2015
JOINING FLOCK, TYSON ACTS ON ANTIBIOTICS, WSJ, April 28, 2015
HUNGER FOR ORGANIC FOODS STRETCHES SUPPLY CHAIN, WSJ, March 19, 2015
LESS BELLYACHING ABOUT SCHOOL MEALS, March, 2015
CHANGING BREAKFAST, DIET HABITS EAT AWAY AT PACKAGED-FOOD COMPANIES’ PROFITS, Washington Post, February 14, 2015
CALORIE COUNT COMING SOON TO AMERICANS’ FAVORITE STOPS, Washington Post,
November 25th, 2014
MULTI-VITAMINS FOUND TO HAVE LITTLE BENEFIT, WSJ, OCTOBER, 2014
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS COULD CAUSE SPIKES IN BLOOD SUGAR, Washington Post, September 18, 2014
Even while the corporate-heavy committee that decides what is “certified organic” in this country is meeting to decide which chemicals can be used to grow those “certified organic” foods they plan to sell us, it is obvious that we are making progress against big-time odds and big-time, pervasive influences.  Mark Bittman told All Things Considered that “ I am optimistic.  Things have gotten better.  We have passed the low point. More people are paying attention. More people are eating better. More people know about eating better.  I hope that will snowball, and we’ll see that our health improves as a result, and our negative impact on the environment decreases as a result, and that we’ll see a better food system is a great thing for all of us.”
I see this everyday from ground level; I hear it from you every week; and I know Bittman has seen it playing out at much higher levels than ground zero.  So let’s revel in this fall harvest; let’s thank our farmers for dealing with the unpredictability of the weather every day in order to meet our demand for local food,  and remember that each of us is one voice added to a growing chorus for change.