A cup of Chobani yogurt I recently consumed yielded this little object of contemplation.
What strikes me about Chobani’s claim that “”Mother Nature makes every ingredient. We just make the cups. . . and this lid” is that it performs a triple denial of the product’s own origins:
1.) “Mother Nature” plasters over the real labor of production and distribution that is as much a part of the production as the “natural” growth of strawberries and bananas or bovine lactation.
2.) Who is the “we” who make the cups and the lid? The cycle of production, distribution, consumption, and waste is populated by more people not on Chobani’s payroll. What’s more “Nature” bookends that very cycle.
3.) The lid tells a story of ingredients and containers. Chobani handles the former, “Mother Nature” the latter. When and from whom do we get the actual yogurt?
Then there is the worn-out gendering of Nature as female, both in the “Mother Nature” commonplace and, more amusingly, in that “she” produces the ingredients for a milk-based product. Then there is the fact that yogurt itself is gendered female (at least up until recently).
This may be a a lot of pontification for an object that is now trash (although like Grandpa Simpson I have always been the kind of person who reads things he finds on the ground). But I offer it as a micro case-study into why Nature has fallen into such disrepute in some circles.