Friday, November 16, 2007

VeganMOFO-Education systems and it's evil evil ways

Attending university has forced me rather violently to see the many ways in which our education system force-feeds us an awful food relationship. From the first day that "hot lunches" were brought into my grade 3 class room, Mc-Donald's burgers, Pizza and Subs on Thursday.

Poor food, prepared in advance reheated and chemically treated served up as the only option from an early age. I remember being watched by teachers, there to insure everyone ate their food. Choke it down, and I don't want anymore was not acceptable, because growing boys and girls needed their "nutrients".

On-wards to school cafeterias who's healthy special consisted of fat sausages on white buns and a salad. Ice berg lettuce and greasy fries, and it's no wonder people developed negative relationships with food. Being forced to eat the same things day in and out, nothing is ever really cooked. It's heated and torn from its packaging.

Thinking back to the way in which food was present in the education system it really shouldn't be that surprising when in High School confused students genuinely inquired about turkey and fish not being part of my diet. (They actually had no idea turkey was meat) Honestly thought, when would a kid from the suburb raised on fast food, boxed KD and cafe food witness the growth of a tomato? Pick a carrot from the ground and eat it? Watch a slaughter? Have any part in the creation of their own food?

University is not much better, the food is given an air of variety by implying a rotational menu and offering vegan "food" stations consisting of goey veggies and grains covered in thick sauce. It's a real wonder and miracle people move on to have such profound relationships with food at all. I find myself day in and day out losing the desire to eat, because really what is there? Eating has becoming the same chore it was back in elementary, with a stern teacher standing over demanding that you eat everything down to the last bite. Eating is a necessity, but with dismal options and pre-cut, re-washed, re-heated, day-old slop... who wants to?

It's gotten to the point that even going out to eat, with real food has become tedious. I need to eat but the desire and bond is gone. I'm afraid someday I will stop looking forward to having a kitchen or being able to cook again. It's funny how much effort is put into the appearance of health and wellness or aesthetics of these campus wide food establishments, always telling you to eat a healthy variety, 3 meals a day, while doing nothing to provide you with those options.

In many ways I feel extremely bad for all those children who will grow up without a vegetable garden, seeing carrots as grainy orange sticks that come from plastic bags that taste like chemicals. Because really everyone deserves to feel the love and joy that comes from growing, cooking and creating something to fuel your body. something good and tasty, to take pride in and enjoy. Far too many are denied that joy.

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