Today’s foodie guest post comes from Emily of Gathering Green. She is a veggie loving, fitness seeking, amateur foodie and chef, who spends her days working at an environmental non-profit in DC.

Emily created Gathering Green as a place to focus on not only her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) recipes, and sustainable living tips, but also her quest at leading an all around healthy lifestyle.

To #foodgram or Not to #foodgram?

Whether you make a living out of social media, or view it as a necessary evil, there is no denying that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have completely changed all of us. As a young professional, whose age safely classifies me as a Generation Y-er, I actually abstained (quite forcefully at times) from joining all of the social media channels available. It wasn’t until this spring that I finally sucked it up and joined Instagram, the lone social media account I had avoided. (Although, Admittedly, I only joined with the lure from a roommate that there is an account solely dedicated to the “PugsofInstagram”. She wasn’t lying.) Perhaps that was the final step in my trying to “stick it to the man” and not advertise everything about my life online, because shortly afterwards I created a blog. A blog that has quickly become 75% dedicated to food.

Which brings me to the question I’m trying to answer: why are we so obsessed with #foodgrams?

If you read nearly any online newspaper or periodical, you have probably come across about a thousand (ok maybe more like 5) articles in the last year or so that pertain to the infamous #foodgram. You may have read this one, or this one, or maybe you’re even a member of this Facebook group. Many of these articles bring up valid points, such as the lack of artistic talent apps such as Instagram require, or the fact that for some people thinking about food 24/7 is a sign of a bigger problem. However, I think there’s more behind this debate that we’re all ignoring.

I could probably go on for hours about this debate, but for the sake of time (and my attention span) I’ll focus on two points.

1.) Sustainable agriculture and environmental awareness:

Full disclosure: I’m biased on this topic since I spend my days working at an environmental non-profit. However, I am extraordinarily passionate about conservation and sustainability and believe it’s worth focusing on.

Gone is the day when nobody knew, nor cared, where his or her food was coming from or when it had been harvested. These days, whether it’s your addiction to the Whole Foods Organic section or your weekly Community Supported Agriculture, we all have started caring just a little bit more about our food. This is good. I realize I am probably in a minority, but picking up fresh blueberries and zucchini at the farmers’ market gets me excited. And seeing a photo of someone doing the same makes that emotion resurface. Combine our growing environmental awareness with the easy access of photographic equipment (iPhones, point and shoot cameras, DSLRs, etc) and quite honestly you have some of the best food photography I’ve ever seen. You also have a generation who is actively trying to improve the food situation in this country.

Gathering Green Veggies

2.) The health focused generation:

A few weeks ago I had a heated debate with my parents and grandmother about the differences between our generations and the socio-political challenges we all faced at various stages in our lives. Without steering this story too far into the political realm, I’ll simply say that my main point had to do with attitude and adversity. I argued that my generation was one of the first who had to deal with not only political, economic and social strife but also environmental and health issues.

Put simply, what other generation has gathered a group of friends together and gone on an exotic destination vacation… to run a half marathon? Or hosted a dinner party with only local produce? All at the ripe old age of 25. More and more we’re seeing young people take proactive stance on healthy living. Obesity and other health related diseases are still very much prevelant, but I argue that the #foodgram revolution is helping, not hurting this battle. If snapping a photo of your zucchini bread with 3 filters, blurred borders, and fifteen hash tags is what it takes to keep this revolution going, then by all means, please continue.

Photography changed the connotation of the word “artist” decades ago. It’s nothing new that those who have never heard the words “aperture” and “shutter speed” are labeling themselves a “photographer”. But that’s not going to change. Just as the dawn of the typewriter and later the computer allowed the writer in all of us to emerge, the rise in popularity of the DSLR (and even the iPhone) is changing the way we capture memories. I gave in trying to “stick it to the man” and not have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but that doesn’t mean I’m any different as a person. In reality, I like to think that I’m finally embracing who I’ve always been. I just get to document it a lot better than my parents or grandmother ever did.

So I will continue to take photos of my food with pride. And maybe, if they ask nicely, I might even share some of my tasty creations with the #foodgram haters.

Gathering Green 2