Fast Food / Organic Food

Background and methodology
Consumption practices are driven by a conscious reflexivity, such that people monitor, reflect upon and adapt their personal conduct in light of its perceived consequences. In contrast to the fast food eater, the reflexive consumer pay attention to how food is made and that knowledge shapes his or her ‘taste’ towards healthier food. Organic food consumption is treated as reflexive eating par excellence. The purpose of this paper was to examine the evolution of organic food from the ‘counter-cuisine’ to what organic growers call ‘yuppie chow’ and to problematize the facile dichotomies between fast and slow, reflexive and compulsive ere there is slippage and instability in these categories.

The first organic certification program in the USA, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), started in Santa Cruz in 1973, then a rag-tag group of 50 or so self-proclaimed hippie farmers. A survey of 12 Berkeley families in 1927 noted that ‘the Berkeley diet emphasized fresh vegetables and fruits, especially the leafy and citrus varieties, milk products and eggs in contrast to the average urban diet which substituted the cheaper cereals and potatoes and spent relative more for meat. By the 1980s, organic salad mix was on the menu of restaurants. The need for quality became a major push for technical solutions to organic farming and processing.

Guthman, J. (2003). Fast food/organic food: reflexive tastes and the making of ‘yuppie chow’. Social & Cultural Geography 4(1):45-58.