I always laugh when people at a well-attended foodie event or sustainable agriculture conference ask if our side is winning. I always say "when McDonald's goes bankrupt, you'll know we're winning."
To illustrate just how far away we are from winning, McDonald's just announced that it plans to add 1,200 stores this year. Did you get that number? Should I say it again? Say it slowly. 1,200. That's right. In fact, first quarter sales are up 5.7 percent compared to the same period last year.
In these blogs, we talk about poisons, Monsanto, GMOs, Paleo, Weston A. Price Foundation, Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, growing soil, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations--you get the drift. By and large, none of these millions of McDonald's patrons has ever heard of any of these things, much less given them any thought. We are a long way from winning.
I'd like to have just one diner that served authentic food. I feel like David Copperfield holding his little dish and in that quivering voice asking "More, sir?"
And the orthodox industrial food system bellows back: "Did you hear him? He wants more!" I just want one. Is that too much to ask?
I haven't stepped into a McDonald's in probably 40 years or more. If everyone purchased food like me, they wouldn't even exist. Can you imagine a world without McDonald's? No Ronald. No Happy Meals. No golden arches. In his iconic book FAST FOOD NATION, Eric Schlosser pegged McDonald's as the number one driver of the industrial food system and I believe he's right.
Just like my heart breaks for the abused land in orthodox farming, my heart breaks for all those abused children allowed to eat junk at McDonald's. Amazing that we sue against bathroom access but not against parents who let their children eat McDonald's. As Paul Harvey used to say: "We worry about the wrong things, you know."
My disdain of this American iconic eatery illustrates how out of step I am with mainstream America. I'm so out of step I'm going backwards. Where is the political candidate who will stand up and say "1,200 more McDonald's eateries are a blight, a scab on our national landscape?" My heart breaks for a culture that is this profoundly out of touch with our ecological umbilical, the plight of factory farm animals, the destruction of our soils and water.
What's the one thing McDonald's franchises are begging for? A better chicken sandwich. How about starting with an honest respected chicken?
How long have you abstained from McDonald's?