Luxury and Locavores

Oh How Things Change

tomatoesWho needs caviar from the Caspian or foie gras from France? These days, the well heeled can show their status by the bounty that comes right from their backyard. An article featured in the Times reports on the business practices of Trevor Paque of the San Francisco bay area who builds organic gardens in backyards, weeds them, harvests them, and leaves the fruits (and vegetables) of his labor on your back porch when he is done.

Mr. Paque is certainly onto something. He has harnessed the energy of the locavore movement, profiled its demographics, and provided a service that fits the needs of urban professionals who like the idea of farming their own food, more than the act itself.As Deborah Madison, a cook book author is quoted as saying in this article, “They want to have a garden, they don’t want to garden.”

The article doesn’t actually mention how much Mr. Paque charges for his services. But I think it is safe to assume that this might fit into the “eating local and organic is more expensive” box. The article does report that “local produce can cost an additional $1 a pound or more.” Granted, if we had a dollar amount for how much the real costs of long distance food was–on the environment, on health, etc–it could easily top that. But for now, in our checkbooks that dollar per pound has to suffice.

As a personal anecdote, I’d like to add that just last night, my high school English teacher was saying she had been in her garden all day. She then rhetorically asked why it is a passion for some and a punishment for others. I still think that it would do everyone a bit of good to get their hands dirty and grow a little bit of their own food if they could. But I won’t complain that the Plaza hotel offers a local menu as part of their catering services. I have a hunch you can still get caviar as well.  But just like any other type of politics, the politics of food are subject to change.

Turns out all food politics is local after all.


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