I have received some great commentary concerning my Cafe Gratitude review. I thought I'd share one such email which sparked my fire:
i wish they would stay out of the mission i really do,
them and foreign cinema need to go move to stonestown
or the SF center together
i hate that place
thats my rant
Thanks for the rant. But I would like to point something out.
Food should be expensive. It is actually a crime that Americans pay so little for food and have the expectation that food should be cheap and stay cheap. America's food gets cheaper and cheaper all the time because of mono-cropping, the influx of GMO's monopoly, harsher and harsher pesticides (reliant on oil), an un-documented labor force, and all sorts of other horrific variables.
Cafe Gratitude is doing some interesting things with that $8 you mentioned.
They are paying ALL of their workers the SAME wage. There is little to no waste in the kitchen. The owners are contracting DIRECTLY with the farmers who grow the produce--- thus letting the farmer take home the whole profit and encouraging farmers to grow more consciously and more sustainable.
Organic farmers do not get stipends from the government. In order to pay their workers a fair wage, treat the land with consideration, and lose product to the weather and birds and bugs, they are forced to charge more to EARN A LIVING. (I know not a single farmer or chef or restaurant owner living high on the hog.)
Having the desire to earn a living so that one can pay others a living wage is not, by my standards, yuppification or gentrification.
Our privilege helps us to have unreasonable expectations. I have been working in restaurants for almost 15 years and I can count on one hand the amount of owners who run a decent business.
Our cheap food comes at a price. A hefty, selfish, shortsighted, unconscionable price.
And gentrification? that's been going on in The Mission since the first day some middle class white person in hip clothes rented a house with five others, way below market price because it was a house that could have housed three times as many Mexican people. Just because someone wants to have the creds of a poor or working class person, wants to be "downwardly mobile," doesn't mean that it's OK for them to move into The Mission, any more than an independently owned restaurant does. They are equal in nature, except that one gives a job to people in the community and the other just sits comfortably in it.
We want our cake, we want to eat it all without sharing it, and we want it for free.
Just having these expectations rings of privilege. People I know who actually grew up poor and working class and from an "illegal" class have few of these expectations I have grown to know as middle and upper middle class values. Whether they are hidden behind hip clothes and "anarchist" philosophies, or sported with hubris and conceit, they are the same thing.
: Whiny non active "activists" wishing the whole world would be as they want it, without the willingness to pay for it or actually WORK for it.
God forbid the "ghetto" should actually have some good food in it. You didn't mention Popeye's or McDonalds-- I guess it's OK for them to be in The Mission, eh? Food prepped by people earning a decent living, owners thinking about the diner and the server and the dishwasher in a similar fashion, produce grown with a nod to the environment by farmers who struggle every year. I think all people should have access to this, no matter what neighborhood they're in.
When there are more people willing to pay for the actual cost that food costs to get to us, that, and only that is when these whole, healthful, grown sustainable foods will get to us cheaply. Vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike. This is the great American fact.
No one can hide from it.
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