The New York Times recently published an excellent summary of the increasing political clout of the sustainable food movement. An excerpt (but please read the entire article):
At the heart of the sustainable-food movement is a belief that America has become efficient at producing cheap, abundant food that profits corporations and agribusiness, but is unhealthy and bad for the environment.
The federal government is culpable, the activists say, because it pays farmers billions in subsidies each year for growing grains and soybeans. A result is an abundance of corn and soybeans that provide cheap feed for livestock and inexpensive food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup.
They argue that farm policy and federal dollars should instead encourage farmers to grow more diverse crops, reward conservation practices and promote local food networks that rely less on fossil fuels for such things as fertilizer and transportation.
Mark Bittman also has an essay in the Times about the need to emphasize healthy eating over "organic" eating:
People believe it must be better for you if its organic, says Phil Howard, an assistant professor of community, food and agriculture at Michigan State University.
So I discovered on a recent book tour around the United States and Canada.
No matter how carefully I avoided using the word organic when I spoke to groups of food enthusiasts about how to eat better, someone in the audience would inevitably ask, What if I cant afford to buy organic food? It seems to have become the magic cure-all, synonymous with eating well, healthfully, sanely, even ethically.
But eating organic offers no guarantee of any of that. And the truth is that most Americans eat so badly we get 7 percent of our calories from soft drinks, more than we do from vegetables; the top food group by caloric intake is sweets; and one-third of nations adults are now obese that the organic question is a secondary one. Its not unimportant, but its not the primary issue in the way Americans eat.
Love pork belly.
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