Alice Waters responded today to those of us who felt her assessment of the food at Farm Aid was overly harsh. (I blogged about it here last week.) Basically, she says her comments were misconstrued, that she truly appreciated the effort the Farm Aid folks made to get so much local and sustainably grown and raised food served at the site, and that her absolutist, uncompromising, visionary tendencies got the best of her.
In her own words:
I love seeing all the conversation surrounding the issues discussed on Kim Severson’s blog. I wish I had been clearer with Kim, and I’m afraid that the spirit of my comments may have been misunderstood. I was, in fact, deeply impressed with the food sourcing at Farm Aid.
I know that the logistics of feeding 40,000 people are enormously difficult, and the fact that more than half the food came from local producers is astounding.
To have been able to eat a truly fresh, locally grown peach or a Patchwork Family Farms pork chop was amazing. My critiques described an ideal, a version of an edible utopia in which all food would be (as the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, says) Good, Clean, and Fair.
But this is a utopia that we must work together to reach, and Farm Aid’s effort was an important step forward. It was an honor to have been part of it.
Of course, who wouldn't want all the food on our planet to be good, clean, and fair? I suppose the question worth asking here is whether Waters's idealogical purity compromises her effectiveness as a leader of the sustainable agriculture, slow-food movement. I would posit that both Waters and Slow Food founder Carlos Petrini would be able to accomplish so much more if they were less judgmental and more tactically oriented. What do you think?
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