Monday, June 14, 2010

Follow Up: More Politics of Food

I finally found the article that I couldn't find when I wrote about fitness last week. Oakland North has a map showing supermarkets, stores with liquor licenses, farmer's markets, produce markets, demographics, etc. There's a great link to Oakland Local's Food Justice section, including a map of Oakland's Food System.

I visited LA last week, which is one of my least favorite places on earth. I love my family, but LA gets under my skin like a bad case of bedbugs that I can't shake. It's a city that you can't walk in and really isn't even designed for public transportation, which I've heard is pretty shoddy. I'm reminded of John Ross's description of Mexico City and the double-decker-freeway that was being constructed: the more freeways LA builds, the more the city sprawls out and seems to be consumed by the cars and the smog. Fitness is totally a privilege in Los Angeles- think of all the plastic surgery and the gyms and the yoga studios and the stars and the star-wanna-be's with the focus on appearance. I know there is more to LA, and I know I'm a northern California snob and that it's my job to hate LA, but I think much of the emphasis on appearance in LA is based on a structure of privilege. The people who can eat right and workout do, on the backs of those who can make the fancy supermarkets and gyms and yoga studios work. These folks can do the laundry, stock the shelves, vacuum, mop, etc. And wash the cars that travel on endless miles of freeway. Fitness is not a given in a city of freeways. And owning a car to get in and out of the city is not a given, and living close to... anything is not a given.

Watch Ross Ching's amazing time lapse video of Los Angeles for an amazing view of LA without cars. You can read about how he made the video, or just enjoy it. The city is huge, and the images are armageddon-like, fantastical, and unreal- not because they're photoshopped, but because LA is not possible without the ability to drive to fancy food and fine exercise equipment and an underclass who can't drive, and who can only walk to the liquor store.

Running on Empty from Ross Ching on Vimeo.