How Do You Swim Upstream?

Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson › Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies ...


I love big pictures, overall goals, and discussing big ideas. I’m an idealist. It’s one of the best characteristics I got from my dad. (hi, Dad!)

I also love details, reason, and the sense of accomplishment in getting done what needs to be done. So I can be pragmatic, too. (Thanks for that, Mom!)

One of the most fascinating things about the Food Movement is that it draws these two attributes out of people who are questioning the current state of our food system.

We want change, and for good reasons. We read about it, write about it, talk about it. And then we get busy – backyard chickens, gardens, canning, buying from local producers, cooking.

Lately, through conversations with students, educators, co-workers and my parents, I’m thinking along the lines of real, everyday life. Not everyone can hop over from city-dweller to farmer. Not everyone wants to. I often hear people talk about how difficult it is to work full time, raise a family, AND come home at the end of the day to garden and cook a meal. I respect that. I hear people talk about how they felt overwhelmed and paralyzed after seeing Food, Inc. because there is so much change that needs to happen in the food system. I can understand that.

The fact is, we all eat. And our ideas about food relate to nearly every aspect of our daily living. So we all have a voice in this movement, whether we know it or not.

Joel is a great encourager of having people just start somewhere – just visit a farm, just cook one meal at home each week, just grow a tomato on your apartment balcony. And I have some thoughts on how to incorporate an earth-connected and food-aware mentality into everyday life. But I want to hear from YOU today. Let’s talk about the pragmatic baby steps, on a real-life scale.

And just for the record, I have NO agenda here. This is a shame-free zone. Oh, how our culture has raised us to have so many emotions relating to our food (but that’s another post). I am simply reaching out to you because I know our culture is not set up to live in connection with the land, and I want to hear your perspective on the challenges and victories that come with swimming upstream in such a culture.

Where and how does the food movement come into play in your household?

What small steps have you taken towards opting out of the conventional food system? What small steps would you like to take in the future?

Are there things that deter you from wanting to buy, grow or prepare food with more of a local and clean/GMO-free/beyond organic approach?

At the end of the day, what is it that determines your food decisions?

Feel free to answer one of these, or answer them all. Thanks, everyone!

This article originally appeared on It is re-posted here with permission from the author.

THE WRITER: Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably.

Wow, Brie asks a lot of great questions! Tell us your answers in the comments!