Who really needs food reform?

Going into this project, I am trying to keep as open mind as possible regarding the issue. I am coming at it from a place of being fairly ignorant, a little skeptical, and ready to learn.

But this is what I am learning. Not only does no one know how to fix the problem, no one can even seem to really agree on what The Problem actually is. It’s very easy as a person coming from white privelage to read The Omnivore’s Dilemna, and decry the vices of agribusiness. It’s also very easy to find similarly minded individuals, who have also read that book, and then stopped thinking critically. But that usually lends itself to a lack of perspective and diversity, and leads to missing often vital parts of the conversation.

For many, this is conversation about ideals, about what we need to do reform our greedy, selfish ways, about address our American obsession with convenience and cheap abundance, about how to save the planet. But issues of food are more complicated than just what we choose to eat, because it is also an issue of poverty and public health. In some situations, healthy food choices are just not an option. And for those living in that situation, these issues are not about saving the planet, its about the very immediate impact on health and money.

For an overlooked point of view on the Food Debate, and the importance of maintain diversity on all levels of the conversation, check out this article:

America’s food debates are just white men talking: The Big Food-versus-Michael Pollan rhetoric ignores what low-income communities are already doing to get healthy

  1. I totally agree with what you said about how healthy food choices are not an option for some. Here in France the government sets price limits for certain foods that it has deemed to be staples of a healthy diet. I don’t see why the same sort of measures can’t be put in place in the US, except that people would certainly see it as a “limit to their freedom” instead of a way to ensure that everyone enjoys the same right to eat foods that are good for them.

    • cturbes said:

      That a great a point. I have a relative right now studying cheese making in France, and the relationship with food seems to be much different there, right down to the refusal to waste food.

      Price fixing seems to an interesting tangle in the US. It seems as though we do everything we can to keep unprocessed foods high (farm subsidies and food aid, come to mind), while doing everything to keep ultra processed foods low.

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