As 2009 closes, most of the highlights in the food realm could be framed in the context of two competing paradigms that have clashed for much of the decade. In one corner we have big food: factory farms, fast food restaurants, mystery meat, biotechnology and other examples of the economics of scale applied to food. In the other corner, small food: farmers markets, ecology-based agriculture, seasonal diets of minimally processed food, locavores, etc.
One of small food's biggest victories is that 2009 will perhaps be remembered as the year gardening returned to mainstream consciousness. Much credit goes to Michelle Obama and the veggie patch she planted in her new lawn. The symbolic gesture created an instant buzz, and there are now gardens on the grounds of city halls, governors' mansions and other houses of leadership around the world.
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