Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Do you eat ethically?

A thought-provoking trailer produced in conjunction with a new book that asks the question, "from organic greens to grass fed beef to local cheeses, we care about the food that comes out of the kitchen, but do we know what is going on Behind the Kitchen Doors?"

Behind the Kitchen Doors is written by Saru Jayaraman, founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, and although it is not scheduled for release until February 2013 (Cornell University Press), it is already producing a lot of buzz on the web.

My personal comments are as follows:

Many (although certainly not all) of the producers of organic products, local foods, and humanely raised meat advocate for improved working conditions for the agricultural laborers that assist with their production.

The wages and working conditions of restaurant workers has long been a matter of concern -  in all aspects of the restaurant industry, from fast food to high end dining. While the video poses a provocative question about ethical food choices, I would hope that the book does not intend to pit "foodies" against workers or animal welfare advocates against labor advocates.

Social sustainability, including the fair treatment of all involved in the food production process, is one of the three prongs that are usually used to define sustainable production. Like many others, I would extend that to delivery systems such as restaurants.  It is appropriate to question the sustainability of much of the income disparity and the class distinctions in U.S. society today, as evidenced by the workers in the video.


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