I recently saw this advertisement for Woolworths featuring Michelle Bridges (the Biggest Loser) promoting frozen microwave oven meals in favour of eating your own home grown food. Apparently it’s received some backlash from food growers who were offended at being labelled “freaks”.
I thought it was funny because I’ve actually described my soil as “sexy” and as recently as last week I wrote how great the soil is here. She says that, “eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to act like a freak”. Well clearly I’m a freak because awesome soil and growing food gets me pretty excited. I’m surprised that people actually got offended by the advertisement because I can’t imagine many food growers actually taking the Michelle Bridges types very seriously. These celebrities make millions from collaborations with vitamin supplement companies, clothing and just about anything else a corporate enterprise is willing to pay them a chunk of cash for. So why is anyone surprised that she would promote frozen microwave dinners as a “healthy” alternative to fresh food?
For me, growing my own food isn’t just about getting real unprocessed and chemical free food, it’s also largely about being self sufficient. I’ve often bought takeaway food when away from home and I have no idea about the origins or the process of preparing the food, but I still eat it and don’t feel particularly guilty. However, I can honestly say that I’d never consider buying a frozen meal of the kind Woolworths is selling. Why would I? Not only is it unlikely to taste good (and I don’t like microwave ovens anyway) but at about $8 a meal I simply don’t think it’s good value. Apart from all the other benefits of growing my own food, from a purely economic perspective, it’s amazing value. I could feed an entire neighbourhood for weeks for less than $8.
I find the advertisement a bit contradictory since the Biggest Loser tv series and Michelle Bridges promote the importance of motivation and self discipline, yet she appears to suggest that growing your own food and going to the trouble of preparing a simple meal is just too much work. “Get Real!” There’s been plenty of times when I’ve wanted a quick dinner and I’ve thrown together a couple of pieces of toast with avocado, tomato and a bit of basil. All fresh out of the garden and in less time than it takes to heat a microwave dinner.
Perhaps if more people would work in their garden to produce food for their family, and not worry about paying for gym memberships, personal trainers and those special lycra outfits, they may not have to work so hard and could have more time (and more money) to make a meal. But that would make the celebrities and supermarkets the biggest losers.