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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Isabella La Rocca

SPE Member since 2013
Member Chapter: Midwest

Fast Food

Like most people, I am attracted by the shiny, brightly-colored facade of fast food restaurants. Fast food is widely available, cheap, filling, and super savory or sweet. For some people, there are few affordable or accessible alternatives.
As a first-generation American, I've approached fast food with fascination. My parents came to the U.S. as adults from Italy and Mexico respectively. I grew up speaking their languages, visiting my extended family in Mexico and Europe, and eating the way they ate. The cuisine in both their native countries is varied and based on whole foods. Most meals are eaten slowly and with others. Fast food was foreign to us.
As an ecofeminist social justice activist, I regard fast food with distress. Many of the workers employed by this industry are egregiously exploited and barely paid subsistence wages. Fast food workers typically work for minimum wage without medical benefits or the right to unionize. Though the corporations they work for have enjoyed record profits, this has not benefitted the workers. The majority of these workers are women, raising children on their own. Many must depend on food stamps and other government assistance to make ends meet. Fast food workers also suffer one of the highest injury rates of any employment sector, and are statistically more likely than police officers to be murdered on the job. Discontent is currently so high among fast food workers that some have staged strikes in major cities.
In addition, fast food, heavily processed and based largely on animal agriculture, has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. The industry displaces wild life habitats and contributes to the current mass extinction event. It is also responsible for devastating ground water, river, and ocean pollution. According to the U.N., animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all the transportation in the world. Fast food wastes imperiled resources - water, grain, and energy - and contributes to world hunger. The billions of animals bred for this industry live under torturous circumstances for much, if not all, of their lives until they are slaughtered.
These images are relics of an unsustainable and antiquated industry.
Profits from the sale of these prints will be donated to environmental, social justice, and animal liberation non-profit organizations.

untitled from the series Fast Food

in the box from the series Fast Food

giant from the series Fast Food

kehouse from the series Fast Food

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