Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 22

FOOD FIGHT CONFERENCE PLENARY 1 - Finberg & panelists Pacific College, and he researches and teaches moral frameworks for understanding the food systems here in the Portland area, among many other things. Next, we have Steven Kolmes, who is the director of the environmental studies program at the University of Portland. He has an interest in salmon recovery planning, combining ethical and scientific analyses in environmental policy discussions, water and air quality issues, and the sub-lethal effects of pesticides, which I’m sure he’ll be getting into in his workshop later. And finally we have Jeanna Moyer, who is a former philosophy professor with a particular interest in how we think about humans’ relationship to nature. And she’s been thinking lately about the current water shortages and what that may have to say about our future food choices. First of all, Mr. Finberg, typically when we go to the grocery store, it’s sort of like a walk through the world even though we’re hunting out our most familiar foods. Those tomatoes may come from Mexico or even further away even though they seem like they came from our own backyard. Can you give us a brief explanation of where the majority of our produce, meat, and packaged goods in the United States comes from? MF: Sure; the neat thing is that we can, for the most part, walk into a grocery store and buy food. That’s a pretty modern kind of thing. It used to be you had to grow it. If you wanted to eat it, you had to make it, or you had to trade for it. Now, with the monetary economy, you walk into a grocery store (if you’re not in a food desert, as is the case in many of our urban neighborhoods but especially some of our rural areas) and you can buy what you want to consume. It’s a global world and a global economy, and agriculture is now global. So, we can eat tropical produce like bananas if we want. There is so little coffee grown in the United States of America that Portland would shrivel up and die after a week if we didn’t have a global economy. Kona coffee from Hawaii is the only one we produce domestically. And that would still have to be shipped. So, you now can look and see for the most part where it’s from. The labelling allows consumer choice. I just bought some hazelnuts to take home to my wife and kids because 95 percent of the hazelnuts are grown here in Oregon. I wanted to be as local as I could. That was cool. I had Columbia River salmon for lunch and for breakfast. All of those choices you can make provided you have access. Access is both the physical access, being able to get to a grocery store, and the economical one—you also need the money. So, in terms of our food supply, most of the beef you would eat is domestically produced. Most of the lamb might be imported from New Zealand. If they’re almonds, they’re coming from just south in California. “It just depends on the product” is the answer to your question. But, only about fifteen, sixteen cents on average of what you pay in 19