Abstract
We are frequently enjoined to eat in one way or another in order to reduce harm, defeat global warming, or at least save our own health. In this paper, I argue that individualism about food saves neither ourselves nor the world. I show connections between what Lisa Heldke identifies as substance ontologies and heroic food individualism. I argue that a conception of relational ontologies of food is both more accurate and more politically useful than the substance ontologies offered to us by certain approaches to both veganism and carnivory. Since relationality does not in itself offer normative guidance for eating, I ask how eaters might better practice relationality. With particular attention to Potawatomi scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer’s invitation to settlers to “become indigenous to place,” I suggest that forms of relationality based in anarchist practices of “mutual aid” better offer white settlers, and eaters more generally, a political approach to relational ontologies while resisting a tendency towards epistemic and spiritual extractivism. I argue that mutual aid approaches have much to offer to the politics of food and eating at every scale.
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