Saturday, March 3, 2012

Eric Schlosser Talks Food and Class

Video: Eric Schlosser Talks Food and Class

I agree with him that our current food system is broken. Even if one thinks about how all the food must be shipped in from so far away, the costs will only grow more immense. I read his book Fast Food Nation where he warned about how our food is produced. Good food is growing more inaccessible as our food is adulterated and made more and more unhealthy for profits.

One of the most effective arguments against transforming our food system is the class one: Sure, it's great if well-heeled coastal urbanites want to pay up for food grown without chemicals, but that kind of agriculture can never be productive enough to feed poor people. For that reason, we need monocropped fields of corn and soy, factory-scale livestock operations, and annual monsoons of agrochemical.

In this view, food system reform advocates like me are raging elitists, and Big Food institutions like McDonald's and Walmart are populist champions of the working poor.

I call it the two-food-systems solution: a niche local-organic one for the few willing to pay up; a dominant chemical-driven one for everyone else. In essence, that model describes what has evolved here in the United States over the past 20 years: vibrant islands of farmers markets and CSAs in a vast swamp chemically produced calories.

Definitely true:

 "Access to good, healthy food shouldn't be reserved for a privileged few. It should be a basic right. And the changes being made at the community level need to be translated into changes at the state and federal level. At the moment, the law too often favors corporate interests over the public interest. The fast food chains and agribusiness companies are earning large profits, while shifting even larger costs onto the rest of society. The game has been rigged in favor of the powerful and well connected, at the expense of everyone else.
The industrial model has caused enormous damage, in a remarkably brief period of time, and we have no choice but to seek a better one. We have no choice but to help those who are being sickened, impoverished, and abused. Because a food system based on poverty and exploitation will never be sustainable."

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