2500 people gather in San Francisco to skirt 'food safety' laws that limit 'food entrepreneurs' to those who can cough up more than $1000 for San Francisco's coffers.
This is no isolated incident. Washington, Atlanta, even London and Amsterdam are infected. The movement is spreading.At midnight, the smell of stir-fried pork bellies was wafting through the Mission district. There was live music, liquor, bouncers, a disco ball — and a line waiting to sample hundreds of delicacies made mostly on location, among them bacon-wrapped mochi (a Japanese rice paste) and ice cream made from red beets, Guinness and chocolate cake.
In a sense it is civil disobedience on a paper plate.
The underground market seeks to encourage food entrepreneurship by helping young vendors avoid roughly $1,000 a year in fees — including those for health permits and liability insurance — required by legitimate farmers markets. Here, where the food rave — call it a crave — was born, the market organizers sidestep city health inspections by operating as a private club, requiring that participants become “members” (free) and sign a disclaimer noting that food might not be prepared in a space that has been inspected.
I found the next quote telling, for how much we've changed as a society over the last 50 years. From outlawing LSD to outlawing string cheese, how far we've come.Amateur cooks around the country are pushing to have the right to sell unlicensed goods directly to consumers. So-called “cottage food” laws that allow products considered nonhazardous, like pies and cookies, exist in 18 states, with five more considering similar legislation.
And I particularly appreciate this analysis.Where psychedelic drugs famously transported another self-conscious San Francisco generation, the rebel act of choice by Valerie Luu, 23, a first-generation Vietnamese chef, is deep-frying string cheese in a cast-iron pan.
“When I was their age I was doing drugs and going to rock shows,” said Novella Carpenter, an urban farmer and author who recently got into a spat with the City of Oakland for selling chard and other produce at a pop-up farm stand without a permit.
Being an agorist, I see this story as full of win. Innovative, healthy food prepared by dedicated amateurs as the 'bad guy,' going up against the 'approved' slop of Big Food and their enforcers. Civil disobedience. Mocking of the power structure. People having fun celebrating the open defiance of those who would dicate to them. And it primarily involves people who'd never in a million years attend a tea party or protest 'big government.' This strikes me as the liberal version of the 'raw milk' controversy.Some see the growth of the underground markets as part of a high renaissance of awareness for a Fast Food Nation generation, with its antipathy for the industrial food machine. In the recesses of the markets, a certain self-expressive, do-it-yourself “craftness” flourishes.
What's your take?
BTW, I missed this when it ran in April, so hat-tip to LewRockwell.com.