Whole Foods fairytale

Baby Sorenne is already taking an interest in colorful books and images. Soon it will be storytelling.

The Whole Foods blog had a particularly fantastical and derogatory tale today.

Joe Dickson writes in a piece entitled, Standards Even A Kid Can Understand, that he couldn’t figure out how to write about the complexity of quality in one post so he gets to do a series.

Joe, it’s called editing. You’re a terrible writer.

“Is everything here organic?” and Paige said “no” but that everything was natural. And then fumbled through various attempts at explaining what natural means – realizing as she rambled that a typical 11-year-old doesn’t have the background to understand how much junk is in our conventional food supply. Paige eventually came up with this: “You won’t find blue catsup here because catsup comes from tomatoes and tomatoes aren’t blue in nature.” And the friend got it: “So, catsup is red here?” Yes.

Joe the former nursery school teacher then introduces those readers who haven’t fallen asleep or clicked elsewhere to Quality Standards Storytime.

Once upon a time there were only natural foods. I know this is obvious, but one of my most strongly-held beliefs about food is that we should pay attention to the diets that humans have followed for 200,000 years or so. Our bodies and brains evolved on a diet of unprocessed foods — mostly plants and nuts, some animal protein and very little else. The 50-100 years since the advent of food processing and artificial preservatives occupies about .05% of that timeline. I think it’s fairly logical to play it safe and stick to the diets that have proven safe and healthful for most of recorded time.

Then, sometime in the twentieth century, Artificial Preservatives, Colors and Flavors were invented by “food scientists,” devoted to improving the quality of our lives through science. The ability to color, flavor and preserve food indefinitely made it possible to recreate authentic-seeming foods and make them last virtually forever. …

The Organic and Natural Products movements were born in opposition to these changes, based on the belief that natural food is healthier, better for you and better tasting. As the conventional grocery industry got weirder and weirder, the group of resisters got bigger and bigger. Whole Foods Market was born out of that opposition, founded in 1981 as a natural alternative to mainstream grocery stores. Organic agriculture also followed a similar route, rising as a resistance movement to chemical/industrial agriculture during the 1970s and 80s.

What a fairytale. Maybe Whole Foods should worry first about keeping dangerous bacteria out of the food it sells – it’s part of that food science thing – so its customers don’t barf.

And leave the storytelling to experts like Robert Munsch of Guelph, Ontario, whose 1986, Love You Forever, is one of the most popular children’s books ever, with some 8 million copies sold (my kids preferred The Paper Bag Princess, while I preferred Good Families Don’t, because it’s about farts).

Shortly before baby Sorenne was born I gave an animated telling of the story to our prenatal class, complete with bad singing, based on years of practice, and because I’d seen Munsch tell the story a few times.