Insanity vs. Houston Farmers’ Markets

Mark Bittman, aka the Minimalist, drops some serious science in his Food Manifesto for the Future at the NYT. He uses the word “sane” a lot when he’s driven to talk about these things, which underscores the fact of the matter: that the way we eat, end to end, farm to table, is insane.

His points start with the government, which has, let’s be honest, been asleep at the wheel at best, in the pocket of industry at worst. So he wants us all to tell them to

  1. quit paying for processed food (which frees up $ for the next points). A mess of subsidies keeps the more heinous food-esque items cheap.
  2. start paying for real food. Time to make those subsidies work for us.
  3. reorganize and better redistribute power among the relevant agencies. USDA’s in bed with business; FDA’s lacks the muscle to lay down the law.
  4. start paying for food education, to promote home cooking. Not everyone can rely on their moms; moms have lives, too.
  5. tax the merchants of junk food.
  6. guide us away from waste and toward recycling.
  7. put an end to false “healthy/natural” advertising. There’s enough sodium in some of these supposedly good-for-you soups to detonate a car, I think.
  8. start paying for research to take these gestures global. I want to believe that our country can still lead in other areas besides the export of Ashton Kutcher movies.

The gist: close Washington’s wallet to the bad stuff, then fork out the ensuing savings for the good stuff. In short, sanity. If only Bittman and Pollan could be installed as decision makers somewhere high up in our government, we’d not only eat better, but we’d also need fewer trips to the doctor. Until then, thank heavens for Obamacare. For now we can only do our part, in the kitchen and the market, and maybe at the ballot box.

Luckily, here in Houston, we have a fair amount of farmers’ markets available to us. For locals, here’s a list:

  1. the one by Rice, near the unnecessarily large stadium
  2. T’afia
  3. Urban Harvest at Discovery Green
  4. Urban Harvest at Eastside, between Richmond and Alabama
  5. Highland Village (which I guess is now part of the ever-expanding Urban Harvest empire now, too)
  6. Canino’s on Airline (more accurately: an open produce market; allegedly a go-to for restaurateurs)

– B

1 Comment

  • Sarah says:

    I really liked this post. Probably because my obsession with Mark Bittman and the delicious things he creates is unending. (Number 8 is particularly true.)

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