As we spread the message about good food, one push back we commonly get is that eating fresh whole foods is a privilege of the affluent. While we’re eating locally-grown produce, the argument goes, poor people are forced to eat junk food.

I have a lot to say about this claim, of course. I’ve responded to it frequently on this blog. But yesterday I was struck by something as I pondered it–something that suggests a significant cultural change in our lifetimes (at least in my part of the world).

When I was growing up, we grew or raised most of our food. That was evidence that we were “poor.” The folks who lived in town, who I envied, ate “store-bought” food.

So the food we ate as poor country folks (it was part of what gave us that identity) is now considered a privilege of the affluent, and the food that culture says is what the poor are forced to eat (fast food, frozen dinners, processed sweet foods, potato chips, etc.) were luxuries that we thought were reserved for people with money.

A strange reversal.