The Pleasures of Eating


SVN3M - Food

Wendell Berry’s “The Pleasures of Eating” - Questions

Read the article “The Pleasures of Eating” and answer the following questions:

1. Sketch a concept map to show the major ideas that Wendell Berry has outlined in this article.

2. What do you think it means to “eat responsibly”?

To eat with the awareness of the environmental and social impacts of growing, processing and transporting food


“Eating is an agricultural act.” What does Berry mean by this statement?

Eating and agriculture are connected, cannot separate eating from issues of food production;

4. According to Berry, why does it benefit the food industry that the connection between food and farming is obscured?

We become passive consumers who buy what is sold without asking questions about quality, environmental impact, and social impact

We view eating as a purely commercial transaction and food as any other good or commodity

5. a) What is the industrial food economy?

Large-scale, factory-style manufacturing/production; heavy use of drugs and chemicals, additives (fat, sugar, salt), treat food as a manufactured good

SVN3M - Food b) According to Berry, the overriding concerns of the industrial food economy are not quality and health but volume and price. What are the consequences of this concern with volume and price?

Produce greatest volume for lowest price

– therefore willing to sacrifice the health and wellbeing of workers/growers, the health of the land, quality of land and water, heavy use of fossil fuels for transport, farming machinery, chemical production

Read the section “What can one do?”

6. a) What are the greatest challenges you would have to the suggestion

“Participate in food production to the extent that you can”?

Gardening – time, space in urban contexts, lack of knowledge b) Wha t challenges would you have to the suggestion, “Prepare your own food”?

Lack of time for food prep, lack of knowledge of how to produce inexpensive nutritious meals or lack of cooking ability

7. What are the potential benefits of buying locally or dealing with local food producers? Think beyond environmental benefits.

We support local growers/producers, who in turn spend the money in our area

– therefore keeping money in local economy;

We develop relationships of trust with local food producers – we are more likely to be reassured about quality, how the environment is treated

Local diet reduces transportation – freshness of quality, reduction in greenhouse gas production from transporting food from a long distance away.