One reads a great deal about how these days, "we" (as in, the author and those like the author, in the author's estimation) care where our food comes from. How well-educated, high-income or high-cultural-capital Americans are living off kale and turnips, while "they" down fast-food, processed meats, etc. See for example Elizabeth Cline, in a story about "fast fashion" I may respond to some other time:
Over the past decade, image-conscious American consumers have adopted two contradictory impulses. When buying food, they will pay a premium for the sustainable and artisanal, and they are careful to always recycle the glass jugs that their farmers’-market milk is sold in. It is fashionable to eat this way—even as a whole category of actual fashion is treated as disposable, with no thought given to craftsmanship or provenance.While it's certainly true that something "artisanal" will cost more than its styrofoam-packed equivalent, my anecdotal - but like heaps of anecdata - sense is that a) very few people, even in the class purportedly doing so, are eating this way, and b) even those who are are doing so for a tiny % of their food consumption, a few garlic scapes picked up at the farmers market, and it ends there.
I mean, there are some differences - such as, voluntarily stay-at-home parents probably do home-cook more meals, and it takes a certain household income to have that set-up - but my point isn't that everyone across the nation eats identically. Rather, it's that there's now this myth that the "elite" is eating in this farm-to-table manner, something above and beyond home-cooked, and that this is who the "elite" is thinner, healthier, whatever. That the secret is local/seasonal produce. When this is not something anyone but hippies was attempting until approximately five minutes ago. Basically, I suspect that what was true when I was a kid - wealthier people eating fancier-seeming but often nutritionally equivalent foods as everyone else, but in smaller portions because of the far greater pressure to be thin - is, in my experience, still the case.
And I love a good farmers market, wish there were more of them, wish this were a viable way to shop for food and not a Thursday-afternoon procrastination. But the impracticality of shopping at these - which, even if held at convenient times, are cash-only and time on top of trips to the supermarket - combined with the fact that even in spring and summer, even Whole Foods isn't selling more than a couple local fruits and vegetables, should be enough to tell us that exceedingly little of what's consumed even by the class in question meets such qualifications. Growing your own food, unless this is really a big part of your life, probably means that you can garnish some dishes with herbs from your garden, or toss in the odd home-grown tomato. While gardening probably correlates with better food habits overall, I seriously doubt that the actual food consumed from the backyard is making a significant nutritional difference in many lives.
But back to the trove of anecdotal evidence. By all accounts I ought to know a great many people who eat in this manner, given that at this point most everyone I know is a grad student or postdoc, some professors, given that I did that recent-college-grad-in-Brooklyn thing. And yet, virtually no one I know does this. Not no one at all, but close. I can think of two people who stick with frozen pizzas, many more who eat along those lines.
The only possible counterargument I can come up with is that the people I know tend not to have kids, and that maybe this manner of eating is something that arrives when you realize that your baby will thrive only on a kale-rich diet. But it seems just as likely that having kids would make it that much harder to find the time to make separate grocery trips for locally-grown vegetables.
Anyone with data, anec- or otherwise, by all means.