Food and Culture: From Local Relationality to Global Responsibility

  • Alexandra Tarr Purdue University


The author presents different ways that negligence with regard to one’s diet wreaks havoc on other aspects of life. She demonstrates how the transition in food perspectives away from agricultural roots and the important interpersonal relationships that put food on the table creates physical and relational health problems for individuals as well as the communities in which they live. Farming methods focusing on monoculture and related practices can have devastating consequences that harm the environment, local economies, and individual communities. However, she demonstrates that when consumers are actively interested in what they are eating and are engaged with the process of buying and cooking food, they can be inspired to make healthier food choices. As a result, the community can become closer and more economically viable. While the author notes that there may be some benefits to the specialization of agriculture, she concludes that these systems cannot sustain the ever-evolving needs of the world. Instead, she calls consumers to pay closer attention to the ramifications of their purchases to promote health, enhance relationships within cultures, and restore an understanding of the ways that nature sustains life.