Breastfeeding was a way for her to convey not wanting her son to be sacrificed in war. She told me her son was 2 years old. I asked her if she was just breastfeeding him. She said she was. She mentioned a 4-year-old as well and referred to the Time magazine coverage on breastfeeding in a positive way.
As you can see behind her, there were a lot of messages on a number of different topics. She caught my attention in a sea of protesters to an issue important to BalanceofFood.com.
Michael Ignatieff is a long-time Canadian professor who stepped into the role of Liberal Party leader in Canada, and ran for prime minister in 2011. In a rather unusual race, both Ignatieff and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe both lost their seats in Parliament. Ignatieff now teaches at the University of Toronto and was a guest lecturer at Northwestern University on sovereignty.
I asked Igantieff in the Q&A session about the impact on sovereignty on high-fructose corn syrup making its way to Canada and Mexico, and whether Canada was sacrificing its sovereignty, even if it didn't want that substance to cross its borders.
Igantieff brought up the overall good that comes out of free trade. He did note that the Harper government is contemplating giving up protections on eggs, cheese, poultry, and the dairy industry to forge free-trade deals with Asia.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a definite take on what he would have done as prime minister, but his free trade stance was an indicator. Though these protections have gone on through Liberal and Conservative prime ministers.
While some benefits comes from trading goods with other countries, we might find that trading food produces a giant environmental impact and troubling side effects, such as unwanted high-fructose corn syrup. Having strawberries from Chile might benefit free trade, but eating strawberries from Chile doesn't add up to good flavor.
At one point in Grant Park, a homeless man came up to me and 3 female lawyers sitting on the ground and asked if we had money for food. None of us offered any money, but one of the lawyers offered the man her banana. He went off on a philosophical point about not eating bananas because the shape of the banana meant he was gay. When I defended her banana, he accused me of being a homosexual for liking bananas. Another lawyer came to my defense, while I shrugged it off.
He walked away without the banana. I joked about how she should carry oranges instead, and how gay men must get lots of potassium from eating bananas.
If I were desperate enough to ask for food from a complete stranger, you would be certain that I would eat whatever fruit was in front of me, no matter its shape.
The lawyer who came to my defense talked about her struggles about living on the South Side around 47th Street in a food desert. Her nearest Jewel is a mile away and she does have a car. She said she often crosses over to a nearby Mexican neighborhood where the produce is good.
The fact that she is a vegetarian makes her challenge that much harder since meat is much easier to find. Those who know Chicago's South Side well should remember the now departed Moo & Oink chain of meat stores (see video above).
Having a car does make a difference in finding food in a food desert. Here was a woman who is a federal defense lawyer, a vegetarian with a car who is telling me she has a hard time. But this isn't just about her; she told the story of seeing kids on their way to school eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos for breakfast. They are experiencing the food desert more than she is, but suffering just the same.