Placeless food

 

Although globalization is a centuries-old phenomenon in the food system, it’s most recent expression dates to events of the 1970s (Friedmann and McMichael, 1989).  Fresh food now travels 50% further than it did in the late 70s.  It was much more common for supermarkets in major urban centres to be supplied primarily by farms within a few hours (within 200 km) (Hendrickson and Heffernan, 2002).

Food that "comes from nowhere" is now deeply entrenched in the consumer psyche.  Stories abound of children who think of supermarkets as the source of food, with no idea about the plants, animals and farms from which they derive.  Many shoppers have no sense of the seasons, a perverse result of the food industry's globalization process and attempt to satisfy all palates all the time.  Although many in the dominant food system lament this reality, they are complicit in generating such outcomes by producing and trading industrial homogenized commodities.  These long distance supply chains are logistically brilliant, but socially destructive as people lose their linkage, through food, to their own bioregions.