Rooted Cosmopolitanism of Nested Travelers

Last post I had causally asked if there was a way out of the seeming dichotomy between local farm to table eating and cosmopolitan global eating. Food philosopher, Lisa Heldke, asked the same question in an insightful essay entitled,”Down-Home Global Cooking: A Third Option between Cosmopolitanism and Localism.”Relying on Kwame Anthony Appiah’s idea of “rooted cosmopolitanism,” she asks the same questions far more eloquently than I had and even offers a possible option in the “nested traveler” and writes:

“What kind of philosophy can underpin and advance the development of food practices that value both local food and ethnic cuisine swapping? That can acknowledge the legitimate rights of communities to cultivate deep and long connections to the soil, while also recognizing and valuing the insights that come from newcomers? “

According to Heldke, the third option must achieve the following aims,

“First, it will manifest literal “groundedness,” a nonarbitrary, nonoptional, earthy contextuality.

Second, this alternate option will recognize that no place is too small, local, and homogeneous to escape us/them thinking, nor is any connection between two people too tenuous to preclude the possibility that they will share a sense of being from the same tribe. That is connections and disconnections are never simple matters of location or dislocation.

A third option will also exhibit greater concern with the cultural than displayed by many agrarian forms of localism, and more concern with the agricultural than most versions of cosmopolitanism manifest.

A fourth aim of this third option is that it ought to help us think about how food practices could enable us both to conceptualize and to enact justice and sustainability — two sociopolitical aims toward which many eaters are attempting to aim our forks. Note that cosmopolitan options tend to emphasize that they alone are capable of safeguarding global justice, while localist options tend to suggest that they alone are concerned about environmental (and other forms of) sustainability.”


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