Local Food in a Global World

I want to post something a little different today, I want to start sharing more interesting things I find about food trends and general foodieism and today I read about the perfect project to kick it off.

Yesterday’s Daily GOOD email yesterday highlighted Forage Kitchen. It’s a new project from Iso Rabin, creator of ForageSF, the underground, anti-commercial food market in San Francisco that operated until last year when the department of Public Health served them with a cease-and-desist. Forage Kitchen, however, is a Kickstarter candidate that, if funded, will offer anyone interested in craft food a venue to pursue their craft, hobby or even business. Read the full article here, and I highly recommend that you do.

This idea instantly sparked all kinds of excitement and pride in my (extended) community of foodies, in me. (and a good bit of jealousy i that I’m no longer in SF, But we’ll stick with the positive reactions for this post). I love the idea of a communal/commercial kitchen, and the pulling together of a community to bring small batch products to a modern market.

For any of you who know me in my life as a designer you know I’m a huge proponent and advocate of the Technology Backlash, and am ready point it out at every turn. Yesterday’s Daily GOOD (a great source for social design inspiration if you’re not reading it already) made me think a lot about where these trends are now and where they are headed in the future.
The technology backlash is pretty self explanatory, but in case you don’t believe me, a couple nibbles to ponder over:

Turning off the internet – People are increasingly making time to disconnect from their gadgets, email and the constant stream of communication and getting back to the present and physical. Phone Stack anyone?

Disguising hi-tech is low-tech – Ok, I understand that this is greatly tongue and cheek, and the hipsters do it for the irony, but this speaks volumes.

Fairytale Media – Ok, you can tell me this is unrelated, and that there has always been and will always be a market for period and fantasy television and movies but two network primetime shows based on fairytales and two interpretations of Snow White in theaters in one year? People are begging for a simpler time, when good and evil were as obvious as black and white.

Locavore movement – This is a much older movement that started for many, independent reasons, but it brings us back to food, which is really what we’re here to discuss. Widely available farmers markets, community gardens and CSA services (if you’re in the LA area and you aren’t part of one of these, stop reading and sign up here now) aren’t just for urban metropolises anymore. Nor is harvesting veggies from your back yard relegated to the rural Midwest.

Urban farming is huge, even Anthropologie is filled with books like Grow, Cook, Eat and The Balcony Gardner. which is pretty interesting if you think about it. What interest does a trendy, alternative women’s retail store have with gardening and food trends? Spotting trends and marketing a lifestyle, that’s what.

Small Batch Foods – This is possibly my favorite of the above, and why I am so glad to see something like Forage Kitchen getting press. The best example of this I know of right now is undoubtedly Fab. Fab partners with independent designers and artists to put artisan products and food items at the fingertips of the internet audience. It’s something that sets them apart from the over-exposed fire-sale website trend and creates something unique and community building on the internet.

People are making real moves toward returning to simpler, more controllable and less processed lifestyles. Whether that means a healthier lifestyle through better work/life balance or simply by eating fresher, less processed foods there’s a wave of trends that are all pushing toward the same goal. But we still live in a globalized, ultra connected, instant gratification world and what that affords us a pretty amazing world of craft products and artisan opportunities. Today’s world can give us the handmade, the unique, the artisan product via modern consumer pathways. And that’s really a pretty amazing power.
What better way to use our uber-tech world for good than to use the internet, and social media, to create a communal kitchen for small batch craft foods?
Maybe the next trend will be not simply shutting off technology, but turning it into a force for good in our movement back toward craft and artisan pursuits.

Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think in the comments!


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