Regardless of mainstream attempts to co-opt the label, a truly artisanal food movement—based in craft, community, tradition, and innovation—is alive and kicking. For these businesses, growth is not something to take lightly; it’s a delicate dance between staying true to one’s values while adapting to new economies of scale.
Throughout human history, particularly in indigenous cultures, food has been perceived as sacred. The word sacred is not a religious term but rather one that simply means “set apart” or not of the ordinary. It is also related to sacrifice which may mean that something is sacred because it derived from something sacrificed. For example, we speak of battlefields and military cemeteries as sacred. In ancient times, some temples, mountains, or forests were sacred because animals were sacrificed to a god in those places. All food is sacred in the sense that the life of a plant or animal has been sacrificed to feed another being.
“But can we feed the world this way?” As we try to move humanity away from dominant power regimes and thoughtless extraction of the earth’s resources, toward a way of life that honors the earth and all of her creatures, I think this is the most maddening question we can be asking ourselves.