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Alice Waters' Involvement in Montana Housing Development: Slightly Confusing

It's no secret that Alice Waters is the closest thing the Bay Area—nay, the food world—has to a goddess, but a rather troubling article on The Ethicurean reveals that Waters has (quite strongly) aligned herself with a gated community development in Montana called the Ameya Preserve:

Here’s where Alice Waters comes into the picture. All of the current advertising for the Ameya Preserve — including the 2007 Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog — trumpets her involvement. Alice may or may not be an elitist in person, but she has aligned herself with a developer and a project that is openly and unabashedly elitist.

The Christmas Catalog promises that Alice herself will cook your dinner if you buy a 10-acre site. The price tag: $2.3 million, in an area where the average home price is around $150,000 and the median income hovers just below $40,000.

Waters may have been attracted to the project because she'll be opening a culinary school there and the Ameya Preserve touts itself as a green project with a local farm. But as the article points out, the $2.3 million-homeowners won't be doing the farming themselves; zoo-like "resident farmers" will. The nearby town is up in arms about the new deluge of "second homes," saying it will divide a community (as gated communities do by definition, we suppose). In the end, the elitist development appears to goes against the community-building for which Waters has always stood, thus leading to the obvious question: why is she involved? Is there anything less "Chez Panissey" than a celebrity chef specially cooking a meal for someone who buys a $2.3 million estate in a town of $150,000 homes?
· Why is Alice Waters involved with the Ameya Preserve in Montana? [The Ethicurean]

Anyone with thoughts, explanations or theories is encouraged to share, either in the comments field or via email.

Chez Panisse

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