Does it matter if people are disconnected from food?

I used to be physically fit from playing hockey and squash and golf with friends in Guelph, Ontario. A lot of them worked in agriculture – for the feds, province, university, industry, and farm groups – and a lot of them insisted that people were disconnected from how food was produced and so support for agriculture sucked. If people were better educated about growing and preparing food, problems with food safety would be largely resolved and an Age of agricultural Aquarius would be achieved (Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding …)

So it was hardly surprising to read this morning that the best and brightest in Guelph told some federal politicians that people are disconnected from the food they eat.

Vern Osborne, assistant professor of animal and poultry science at the University of Guelph, said Canadians, especially young ones, are disconnected from the food they eat. A policy, he suggested, should include educational components that teach kids where their food comes from and how to actually prepare it. Kids have largely lost the ability to cook, he and others said.

Rickey Yada, professor of food science at U of G, agreed that young people have lost the ability to prepare even simple dishes, a fact that is contributing to widespread indifference towards food issues.

Such generalizations are of little use. My kids know how to cook; so do lots of others. Lots of people drive but don’t know how their cars work. Lots of people use computers and know little about integrated circuits. I recognize it’s trendy to say people are disconnected from food production, but so what? Where’s the evidence that having a connection with food –however that is defined —  will make people fitter, healthier and safer?