What Food Babe Doesn’t Know
With a new book out, beating the publicity drum and firing up the marketing machine, Vani Hari has reawakened her “Army” to sending more money to support her lifestyle. She makes, it seems, millions of dollars leading millions of people to do what she says, and target companies that she wants to change. It’s the American way right? Find a niche, create enough fear to get a change wanted then provide the change, for a price. It’s marketing 101, and it’s effective because when people are afraid of something, or of not having something, we pay to solve the problem.
But “Food Babe” doesn’t know as much about food as it seems others think. I don’t have a nutrition degree either, although have read quite a bit from various people who do show success from their opinions. Where Ms. Hari misses is it seems she’s for small organic, nonGMO farmers, but I don’t see active sending that money to them. What Food Babe doesn’t know is there are links in her privileged food chain that are crumbling and without financial input they will disappear.
After all, while she has expensive coffee in an expensive apartment, many farmers have been up for some time in much less pleasant conditions. I wonder if Ms. Hari has ever been out in a barn at below freezing to insure that the new calf or foal is off to a good start on those wobbly legs. I wonder if she gives any thought to the small farms and small producers who aren’t seeing the dollars needed to stay open another year. Indeed, there’s a nice little organic stand near here – less than a half mile from the interstate, across from two convenience stores. Primo property for promoting healthy eating.
It’s for sale. While there have been customers, *enough* customers is needed. While Ms. Hari is worried about what Subway is doing across town (and they are thriving), the spots to provide what is implied wanted are folding. While the Food Babe Army launches into not wanting this or that or the other – those in many areas are NOT seeing the uptake in sales. Give her all the money and credit but don’t bother shining the light on others in need of it?
I wish that she knew the 2 a.m. tearful prayers of trying to figure out where $150 or $200 or $300 is going to come from this month to cover something needed. I wish she really knew looking at a mountain of bills, needing $250 in a couple of days and seeing someone like her rant about what’s wrong with food without even recognizing what’s right with it.
A part of me wants to lash at how incredibly spoiled the brats, of all ages, of the Food Babe Army is…because many would happily take the food they condemn and because what they don’t condemn isn’t purchased in enough quantity to give the farmers doing it a reasonable standard of living. I’m not talking new pickup trucks and fancy houses…I’m talking being able to not stress about buying food or paying the light bill. Will the hoop have to be put off for another month, and if we don’t get seedlings started we won’t have March sales, and it won’t get better then either.
We are blessed for the few who do support us. I’ve heard of multiple CSAs closing, nonGMO farmers re-thinking planting nonGMO because the financial demand is not there. And before folks scream “it’s all about the money” you’re danged right it is! Ms. Hari has made millions SELLING you information that is not completely true, but gets you to part with your money.
If you believe Subway bread is eating yoga mats, perhaps you also believe that eating a brownie is the same thing as eating meatloaf…hey some of the ingredients are the same! If you believe purging things like sodium chloride (a chemical – even on the chemical element chart) should be banned from the diet completely perhaps you will be happy to endure the coma, seizures and death from doing so. Perhaps if $100 per month from those millions of people actually went to the people growing and producing food that is condemned in fear, perhaps the food system would actually change. Perhaps if Ms. Hari really wanted to make a difference doing a year long tour of farms and showing people the whole truth of the production of food to her enormous platform would empower them to make food choices without fear. Subway, Starbucks and others wouldn’t matter because they would be struggling not the small farms and organic food stands.
But Ms. Hari doesn’t know these things. I say she doesn’t know because surely if she did, surely it’s not just about money from selling a book or other items on her website, which are, indeed, about money! While it’s easy to condemn the US food system, it’s often compared to how other countries food is, specifically (and conveniently) reference GMO ingredients in food. Hungary, they point out, doesn’t allow GMOs – but did manage to market horse meat as beef. Many countries are healthier than the USA, but eat more dairy and other products we’re told is bad for us. And some countries eat what we Americans consider inedible waste. Anyone recognize the tasty treat in the last photo? Hint – I’d bet two cappuccinos and raise you an organic shade grown coffee Ms. Hari, and most of her followers, have never had it pass their lips. I could be wrong and would happily stand corrected, as there is millions of them that would go to waste if not for an export market.
You see, Food Babe and her Army don’t know the reality of food production and getting it to the store because they have the sublime luxury of not having to do it. Just drop down to the store and exchange that money that no one thinks is important to that corporation that no one wants to support while ignoring completely the small operations thrown under that big ol’ bus they’re driving.