Tomorrow I travel to the annual ETS Conference (this year in Milwaukee, WI). The biggest down side with going to these conferences in their sprawling convention centers with endless carpeted hallways, anonymous sidewalks and packed restaurants, is being away from family. The second biggest down side? The urban food desert. (For a good introduction to the concept of a food desert see Ellen Desjardins, “The Urban Food Desert: Spatial Inequality or Opportunity for Change?” in Imagining Sustainable Food Systems: Theory and Practice, ed. Alison Blay-Palmer (Ashgate, 2010), 87-111.)
The way I experience the food desert is in the futile search for a reasonably priced selection of fruit. As soon as the airport shuttle drops me off in front of the Hyatt or Mariott I start looking for fruit. Fresh fruit. Typically there are two options. Option one: over-waxed apples sitting in a bowl by the front desk. Unfortunately those apples are so waxy that they could have been sitting there since the Reagan administration. Not a promising prospect. And option two? Buy a banana for two bucks at the Starbucks kiosk.
Not surprisingly, by the second day I’m feeling seriously fruit-deprived. And by the third day? My gums are bleeding from scurvy. So when I finally arrive home a few days later I’m so desperate I’ll eat a moldy grape from under the fridge.
Two hundred thousand square feet of commercial space and you can’t have a cart with some reasonably priced pears and apples? Really? Is that too much? And don’t get me started on my luxury hotel pet peeves.
Anyway, now on to a completely different topic. While I’m gone here is a good review for my Swedish Atheist book by The Dubious Disciple.