Column by Gottlieb appears in the Jewish Journal highlighting the relationship between the Slow Food ethic and the Jewish obsession with food, and how the desire for social justice can bring about food justice activism.
“A Thanksgiving epiphany and the Jewish obsession with food”
” ‘Etes-vous des consommateurs ou bien des participants?’
(Are you consumers or participants?)
Graffiti on the walls in Paris, May 1968
Google “food” and “Jewish culture” and you will get about 2.4 million results — we are a food-obsessed people. Our holidays give full vent to that obsession, but so do many non-Jewish holidays, such as Thanksgiving.
Now, there are emerging efforts in the Jewish community to turn that obsession into social action — to establish a food justice agenda that can change how food is grown, produced, sold and consumed; to make it healthier, cleaner and more accessible to all.
To understand the forces helping to turn the Jewish obsession with food into a Jewish call to what is popularly called food justice, it helps to delve into another culture in which food has also been an obsession — Italian — and look at where and how that obsession has also been turned into a call for action. In Italy, the home-grown slow-food movement and its founder and grand ideologue, Carlo Petrini, made that transition to action.
That moment of transition happened in part due to an epiphany about food and justice. It took place in February 1989, a few years after Petrini founded the Slow Food movement, which up to then was more focused on the pleasure of food and the obsessions around it than an action agenda…”