I’m becoming increasingly sympathetic and more understanding of the types of argument made in an article in Newsweek entitled “Divided We Eat” (where Michael Pollan is quoted as making the statement used in the subject of this post). The article argues that a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and grains is becoming less affordable to most Americans. One certainly sees that high-calorie mass produced foods are increasing in price at lower rates than healthier foods, and many healthy foods (e.g., good produce) is not available in many poor urban neighborhoods. In addition, it is true that having an organic locavore diet is becoming a sign of being of higher socio-economic status. I do think the article undervalues the importance of food literacy (e.g., knowing where your food comes from, how to cook, and what is healthy), underestimates the power of marketing for unhealthy industrial food, and does not address whether eating healthy with better coventional ingredients could be affordable when cooking as opposed to buying prepared foods. Finally, I am becoming fascinated of late with price (i.e., how can we all afford healthy local low-input food) and choice (i.e., why are we spending so much less of our income on food). At the end of the day, I think the locavore and organic movements are good, but we can’t lose sight of wider social justice concerns like hunger and food insecurity. Locals should be able to afford local food, and everyone should have access to fresh raw fruits and vegetables, and healthy dry grains.
November 29, 2010
“Essentially, we have a system where wealthy farmers feed the poor crap and poor farmers feed the wealthy high-quality food.”Posted by Jason J. Czarnezki under Consumption, Food