Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

The Cleaner Plate Club: Making Sustainable Food Realistic for Parents

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Appetite For a Change page, All About Organics page, and our Breaking The Chains page.
About a month ago, I heard a story on NPR's Morning Edition about a study on working mothers and multi-tasking. Moms, the study said, are on overdrive during the hours they're with kids. Many described the hours between 5 and 8 p.m. as the "arsenic hours." The result? Their pre-frontal cortex was overloaded, their brains frazzled, and their decision-making impaired.

"Yup," I thought to myself. "Exactly."

With that study in mind, I'd like to propose a change to how we think about parents and food: that rather than seeing parents' constant reaching for convenience food as some sort of moral failing, let's view it instead as a call for help - a form of crying "uncle" amidst a staggering number of stressors in our not-very-family-friendly society.

Here's the thing: I am a Monsanto-hatin', farmers-market-shoppin', card-carrying CSA member. I believe small is beautiful, that local is groovy, that chemical-free beats chemical-laden. I know that food is a powerful way to change the world: Eating is the one thing, after all, that we all do every day - the lucky among us do it many times a day - so enormous systems have risen up to support what we consume, and how we consume it.
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