With all the Farmer's Markets across the country starting to overflow with fresh and healthy seasonal produce right now, I can't help but think of Alice Waters.
Alice Waters, often referred to as the "California Food Activist" is a legend. Alice has done so much to change how Americans eat, cook and think about food in the past almost 4 decades, than anyone since Julia Child. I have had the great pleasure of dining at Chez Panisse in the upstairs cafe on several occasions- and to me, it is always an adventure!
She started a food revolution, one which prides itself on local fresh ingredients, grown without pesticides. Often referred to as "slow food", she believes it's the healthy alternative to "fast-food" She opened the doors of her restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley California over 37 years ago, with little money and little experience. Her passion for food has made the restaurant famous throughout the world. It remains a "one of a kind" as she as never even given thought to franchising or expanding.
She still shows up almost every day, to oversee the cooking with her exquisite, expert taste buds. She buys only from local ranchers, fishermen and farmers. The word "frozen" is not in her vocabulary! Waters has been heavily involved in a program called "The Edible Schoolyard" where children get to learn about gardening and where their food comes from. She is a steamroller when it comes to educating future generations about food, a relentless radical that has never stopped following her passion.
Here are some quotes taken from an interview she did with 60 Minutes:
"I am convinced that food can again be, as it once was, the everyday vehicle for learning mutual responsibility."
"People have become aware that the way that we've been eating is making us sick."
"I feel that good food should be a right and not a privilege and it needs to be without pesticides and herbicides. And everybody deserves this food. And that's not elitist."
"We make decisions everyday about what we're going to eat," Waters said. "And some people want to buy Nike shoes - two pairs, and other people want to eat Bronx grapes, and nourish themselves. I pay a little extra, but this is what I want to do."
"I have been talking nonstop about the symbolism of an edible landscape at the White House. I think it says everything about stewardship of the land and about the nourishment of a nation."
So if you haven't already, take a trip to your local farmer's market this weekend and support your local farmers. It's good for you, good for them and awesome for the planet!