Politics in Food

We could argue that gastronomy and politics are architects involved in shaping our world.  We can also credit our history, culture, tradition, who, how, where, and what we are to Gastronomy and its relationship to Politics. Over four hundred years ago, world leaders sent out representatives in search of land for many reasons, one of which included agriculture. Food and politics influenced the West African slave trade, shaping the western world if you take a closer look. A political decision abolished slavery, and indentured workers brought in to fill the void; hence creolization happened (Out of Many One People) and influenced our food, what, when, and how we eat.  It even brought us many of the food we eat today, such as ackee, breadfruit, and others, it also carried preparation methods, service, and the eating of specific food and when or why we eat them at what time, even the way we plant, grow and harvest.

Gastronomy and Politics still have a healthy relationship.  In the 1980s, my father worked at Port Kaiser, St Elizabeth, and the only time we saw an “American” apple was when sailors left a couple behind or when Aunt Joyce hid one in her suitcase wrapped in foil paper tucked in a cornflakes box coming from Cayman Island. That fruit does not grow on that Island, but they had a different policy, which we followed later. Governmental decisions regarding food are made based on the economic impact, health, and safety, trade deals/relationships, sustainability, human and infrastructural resources, and the environment, to name just a few. Also, to get you thinking critically about the magnitude of impact and countless angles to which gastronomy and politics together are responsible. We will leave GE (genetic engineering) and the mask on the face of food labelling for another time.

Government is responsible for import/export decisions, amongst many others that impact what and how we eat. I worked in hotels for years, where a wide variety of foods and beverages are imported. This approach has a significant impact on many sectors, whether directly or indirectly, positively or negatively within the areas of commerce and consumption. Local Farmers like Mr. Ebanks and many others persevere in making us proud by producing and distributing 100% Jamaican with direct or indirect policies and opportunities from various government agencies.  

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

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