It’s an act similar to that of the victory gardens of the 1940s where vegetable plots became popular in an effort to free up resources for the war effort and help lower the demand and price of vegetables. Beyond this, they also allowed citizens to feel empowered by their own labor and efforts to produce their own food. Having a Victory garden meant that one element in the industrial food system was entirely removed (though this wasn’t their ultimate purpose, it was a consequence) because the people themselves were taking responsibility. The Department of Agriculture even initially opposed Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden at the White House, fearing the move would harm the food industry.
Or, to use hipster speak, cooking is the old-school DIY.
People purchase from natural food stores and get CSAs for a variety of reasons, ranging from less exposure to pesticides to having a relationship with a local farm. Regardless of the motive, a natural outcome is that by cooking with fresh ingredients, you are freeing up capacity in the system and thereby defying the corporate food companies that want your dollar in their pockets.
It’s quite liberating, once you stop to think about it. Though we may not be in the midst of a world war, we are in the midst of a food war, where politicians, lobbyists, and corporations are fighting over how to describe, produce, and market what packaged food items we put in our grocery carts. Why not make it easier on them all and go straight to the source, roasting your winter squash and beets in the oven, then adding a bit of salt, herbs and goat cheese after it’s cooked? They’d get the message loud and clear.