Tacos we consider to be a superior food. While we are not Mexican, or Hispanic, we make tacos to celebrate, honor and share them with others.
We live in an an area which is primarily dominated by people who are white, many of whom have had very little to no meaningful personal interactions with people of color, including Mexican and Central Americans, and believe in "stronger borders".
We hope that the choice of tacos will help the normalization of Mexican culture, and by extension creating shared cultural points of reference and openings for understanding and building of unity and solidarity.
In the United States, immigrants are constantly being asked to assimilate. At the same time there is the need to preserve traditions and culture, which beyond the superficial, are the very backbone of a well functioning, healthy society. Part of this healthy society is the integration and mutual understanding of all members of society. While many immigrants are happy to assimilate to a certain extent, in order to integrate easily into their new surroundings, we do not believe that assimilation should be a one way street. The diversity of culture, food and ideas that we are exposed to is an incredible opportunity to learn, and taking the best ideas that all have to offer, create a culture unique to our area. A healthy culture of respect, and solidarity. We believe that we as white americans should be looking beyond our existing culture to systems and ideas that work better. And if there is one system that is not working in this country, it's the food system.
Cultures, historically speaking, have been people in a specific time and place making the very best use of the resources available to them, teaching those techniques which work best and passing along this information to others. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel age, under imperialist/corporatist management, has overridden many of the best functioning cultures in the world in favor of an economic and food system which relies on the cheap availability of fossil fuels to transport products and destroy ecosystems, as a means of extracting resources. The culture left in the wake of this, while often holding on to core values and customs, we see more and more relies on this very system to survive, now that the resources on which the traditional culture had relied have now been destroyed.
Tacos, especially in an area saturated with corn, as we are in midwest USA, present a great opportunity to make good use of resources. This includes the ability to maintain a high quality product while changing out the filling almost infinitely, according to the foods available at any given time. The corn tortilla provides the basic carbohydrate base (grain) we see in cultures across the world, and is made of the most abundant grain grown in our area, by far. Other benefits of the corn tortilla is that is is low profile, leaving the bulk of the calories to the meat (beans is meat) and vegetables, unlike many wheat / bread / noodle based foods. Tortillas also mean that the only dish you need to eat with is a plate, reducing the amount of energy put into dish washing / organization.
Because corn is native to the Americas, there are literally no traditional European foods which include corn. We as residents of North America should be using the food plants native to the place we live. There are many ways to prepare corn as food, and all of them (with the possible exception of corn syrup) have historical ties to the native people of this continent. While we don't believe their is anything inherently wrong with using wheat and other Eurasian grains, we also see many pitfalls, such as gluten intolerances. There are many admirable European cultural food traditions which should be carried on, but as we are decidedly not white nationalists, we do not believe that we as white people should be limited to only those traditions with roots in Europe.
Another food product we highly regard is the sausage, which like the taco is highly versatile and is almost always delicious. Unfortunately, the draconian food laws in the USA greatly limit the ability of a person, or indeed a farm, to produce make and sell their own sausage products. Beyond the requirement that a USDA officer personally witnesses every slaughter bound for public consumption, any facility which produces sausage, or other processed meat products must be USDA certified and inspected, at the cost of the facility. This means that unless all you are doing is bringing in dead animals and processing them, the cost is prohibitively expensive. So while all the sausage that we sell comes from the animals we raise from birth, we must pay another company by the pound to make sausage for us. Small farms, and thus communities, cannot legally build cultures around sausage, beyond what is available for sale on the "open" market.
One of the many ways in which the project of white supremacy destroys culture, and therefore the fabric of society, was to strip white people of their culture. In Europe, as in the rest of the world, cultures frequently provided people with a functioning system to live in healthy relationships and sustainably in their ecosystem. In the process of assimilation many of these customs were stripped of any context and replaced with the manifest destiny ideology of extraction and consumption.
We believe that we as white people have many things to learn from native people, people of color, and all traditional ways of life, including European traditions. This can cover a wide range of topics, but one in particular is the example laid out by Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. His land and people based vision for an agrarian society of democratically controlled autonomous communities is one that we hope all people will study and learn from.
Unity, solidarity and understanding are what we at Whetstone Farm strive for. We often fail, at this, and many other things. We understand that we have great privilege, as do most of the people who are able to be our customers. The exploitative system in which we live creates the conditions in which healthy food is most readily available to those with the money and resources to afford it. Small farmers who produce food sustainably are not able to make a living, pay the bills, taxes, mortgage without selling food at a price that will pay for this reality. So food available to the poor is produced on the backs of other poor people in exploitative conditions to both people and the land. This is profoundly unjust, and something we grapple with every day. Unfortunately we alone cannot fix this system, and often we do not have the capacity / bandwidth to take on systemic change in the way we would to. We do, however, always welcome meaningful dialogue and critique as to our roll, and how we are able to build a better world. None of us can do this alone.
Across the board farmers have a hard time surviving in the current economic / political system which favors consolidation and extraction over people. Put on top of that the system of white supremacy, people of color have an even harder time surviving and making a living from farming. We recognize this reality, and our privilege within it. In 2014 we were a founding member of Shared Ground Farmers’ Cooperative, which was created as a means of farmers to support each other and work to make it possible to make a living, especially for immigrant farmers. Shared Ground is majority owned by first generation Mexican farmers. We believe that the model going forward should be one in which those who work the land and grow food should be the same people who own the means of production and benefit from its bounty. This has not been easy for any of us, but we have had success, and it is a clear improvement over the dominant agricultural model for food production, which relies on the labor of migrant workers who are paid too little and have almost no say over the conditions of their labor.
We will be donating 10% of our income from our Third Thursday farm dinners to organizations which are working for justice for migrant people native to this continent. In August we will be donating to El Pueblo immigration services in Mississippi, one of the foremost organizations who is assisting people affected by the recent ICE raids in Mississippi, in which ICE targeted workers at Koch Foods in what looks to be retaliation for union organizing and a successful lawsuit against the company for sexual harassment.