by Marion Nestle
Jan 15 2013

Reading food and food politics

I’m also catching up on reading.

This just in:

Wenonah Hauter.  Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America.  The New Press, 2012.

Hauter heads up Food and Water Watch, a tough-minded advocacy group in Washington DC working to preserve and ensure a safe, accessible, and sustainable food supply.  Foodpoly is her manifesto.  She has a lot to say about the problems with food policy, food chains, the organic-industrial complex, the food safety system, factory farms, and corporate control of the food supply.  She urges: “eat and act your politics.”  I’m using it as required reading in my food advocacy course this spring at NYU.

And here are a couple of others I’ve been saving up:

Bee Wilson, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, Basic Books, 2012.

I blurbed this one:

Consider the Fork is a terrific delve into the history and modern use of kitchen tools so familiar that we take them for granted and never give them a thought.  Bee Wilson places kitchen gadgets in their rich cultural context.  I, for one, will never think about spoons, measuring cupts, eggbeaters, or chopsticks in the same way again.

W.A. Bogart, Permit But Discourage: Regulating Excessive Consumption, Oxford University Press, 2011.

I blurbed this one too:

Permit But Discourage is an engagingly written examination of a hugely important question: How can laws best be used to protect individuals and societies against out-of-control consumption of such things as alcohol, junk foods, sodas, and other unhealthy indulgences, without doing more harm than good?  The book clearly and compellingly argues for a mix of laws that permit consumption but discourage excesses, and for finding that mix through trial and error.  This fascinating book is as must read for anyone who cares about promoting health as well as human rights in a market-driven economy.

  • FarmerJane

    I will look forward to reading Winonah Hauter’s book, Foodopoly. The farmer grapevine has circulated that Ms. Hauter is one person who has actually reached out to average farmers who have stood up to global food corporations to get our views and history. Long ago, the food movement seemed to have left the mainstream commodity farmers behind….moving more towards “sustainable agriculture”, without incorporating “farm justice.” “Farm Justice” is a concept that farmers from across the land have worked for since at least the 1970’s in my personal recollection.
    Embracing a vision of “sustainable food”, some food writers tell us farmers that everything will be OK if we are just “sustainble” “local” or “organic”. Consumers will “vote with their feet” and everything will fall into place. It will NOT be all right. Until Americans know about the massive powers that literally dominate almost every aspect of the global food system, we as farmers have been talking about for decades now, everybody will continue to lose out…farmers, consumers, the environment.
    Here’s a visual…a clip from an event that farmers from across the US participated held in 1985. We, including farmers from New York, tried to articulate what we saw happening. Please watch it through all the way and let us, the farmers, know what you think.