by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Food-systems

Mar 22 2009

New York Times: the food revolution!

It’s been a big week for food politics in my local newspaper.  First, the Obama’s new garden (see earlier post) and now Andy Martin’s recap of the events leading to the current push for a healthier and more sustainable food system.  This starts on the front page of the Business section (note photo) and continues on to a full page on the inside.  And in the Week in Review, Mark Bittman writes about the organic revolution.  Full disclosure: I’m quoted in both.

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Mar 4 2009

Food, Inc.: The Movie

I talked my way into a press screening of Food, Inc. last night.  Good thing.  This film is the riveting documentary directed by Robert Kenner due for release soon but already generating lots of buzz, and for good reason.  It’s a terrific introduction to the way our food system works and to the effects of this system on the health of anyone who eats as well as of farm workers, farm animals, and the planet.  It stars Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, among others, but I was especially moved by Barbara Kowalcyk, the eloquent and forceful food safety advocate who lost a young son to E. coli O17:H7 some years ago.  I can’t wait for the film to come out so everyone can see it.  I will use it in classes, not least because it’s such an inspiring call to action.  Here’s the trailer.

Jul 12 2008

UK weighs in on food systems!

The government of Great Britain has produced a major report on the need for healthier food systems, meaning the effects of current trends in food production and consumption on health, society, food safety, and the environment.  It will be interesting to see if they do anything with it.  I wish we could do things like this.  Maybe soon?

Mar 19 2008

Food systems in a spinach basket

Thanks to Jonathan Latham of the Bioscience Resource Project for advice to check out the web pages of Professor Phil Howard at Michigan State University. Professor Howard, who I do not know but can’t wait to meet, has put together some terrific cartoons of how food systems work. Examples: who owns what in organic foods and the chain of distribution of spinach contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 in 2006. This last is especially useful, given the sharp increase in foodborne illnesses due to leafy greens. I fully intend to plagiarize.

Mar 16 2008

Food prices up, up, and away

So what’s going on with food prices? In the last year, milk is up 17%, dried beans 17%, cheese 15%, rice and pasta 13%, bread 12%–and eggs 25%. The last time I bought a quart of milk at my local anything-goes corner store, it was $2.40. Why? For eggs, it’s clear: growing corn for ethanol drives up corn prices and chicken feed. For eggs and everything else we have the perfect storm: increased demand (from China), decreased supply (ethanol), and higher fuel prices. I’m sure there are other reasons too, but these will do for a start. This is why food systems matter.