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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

Home Canners Wield Pickles Against Food Giants

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: local food, sustainable food, slow food, organic food, farming, food preservation, home canning, farmers markets, agricultural policy, food policy, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Jars of homemade plum jam 

Is food preservation a political act? Many of the people surveyed by two social scientists for their academic study “Saving Food: Food Preservation as Alternative Food Activism” think so, according to The Irresistible Fleet of Bicycles, the blog of the hard-hoeing young farmers known as the Greenhorns.

For their study (pdf), Melissa Click and Ronit Ridberg collected survey results from 902 respondents in 42 of the 50 states after reaching them through gardening and food networks. Here’s their “participant profile”:

Of course, we’re quite close to this discussion at Utne Reader; after all, our current issue’s cover headline is “Food Fight: Kitchen Politics, Backyard Gardens, and the New American Diet.” While Rachel Laudan argues in her essay “In Praise of Fast Food” that “culinary Luddism” is making too many women slaves to their stovepots and canning jars, it’s clear from this survey that some backyard gardeners and home canners instead see their pursuit of the slow, the local, and the organic as empowering.

Sources: The Greenhorns, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 

Image by vsimon, licensed under Creative Commons.