Last week our class had the opportunity to tour Whole Foods and learn about how they integrate sustainable food into their business model. I was surprised that Whole Foods could be a successful corporation and simultaneously be sustainable, environmentally conscious, and ethical. I am so used to seeing super markets emphasize consumer culture above all things. At Whole Foods, the environment was different. I saw people who really cared about the products they were selling. I was happy to hear that Whole Foods was even making an effort to market to people on EBT (food stamps). Our tour guide told us about how Whole Foods aimed to be accessible to people from every walk of life. While they had very expensive products, they also had products that you could buy on a budget.
Allison and I in the produce section of Whole Foods
Photo by Mrs. Beamish
I am very interested in the accessibility of food to the average person. More specifically, I am interested in how the average person can be more connected to the food they eat (the growing process, the harvesting, the processing, etc.). From National Geographic I learned about urban rooftop farming. This is such an incredible idea because it both connects people to the food they eat while benefiting the air quality of the surrounding area and using up space that would otherwise not be used. I love the idea of urban rooftop farming becoming a widespread practice. Can you imagine flying over a city and seeing green instead of smog?
Rooftop vegetable garden on Chicago City Hall
In addition to rooftop farming, I learned about “Black Market Milk”. This is milk that is basically entirely unprocessed- straight from the cow. While the health benefits are debatable, black market milk brings the people back to the food they eat. How often do we get to see what our food looks like unprocessed? I think it would be valuable for people to make an effort to see their food before it becomes what’s on their dinner plates.