Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Will We Be Able to Eat in the Future?

--from South End Press----

Will We Be Able to Eat in the Future?

"Compared with a bunch of carrots," writes
the acclaimed author of The Omnivore's
Dilemma, "a package of Twinkies is a
highly complicated, high-tech piece of
manufacture, involving no fewer than 39
ingredients, many themselves elaborately
manufactured.... So how can the supermarket
possibly sell a pair of these synthetic
cream-filled pseudocakes for less than a
bunch of roots?"

Why are Twinkies cheaper than carrots?

The answer to Michael Pollan's own question
is the US Farm Bill, a "resolutely
unglamorous and head-hurtingly complicated
piece of legislation, which comes around
roughly every five years and is about to do
so again, [setting] the rules for the
American food system-indeed, to a
considerable extent, for the world's food

In favoring industrial agriculture over local
and family-run farms, the current farm bill
quite literally underwrites-politically and
financially-a devastating exploitation of the
earth's resources. It prepares the soil for
what Carlo Petrini describes as "an
unsustainable food situation that is beyond
madness." The founder of Slow Food, a
worldwide movement of 80,000 people dedicated
to food that is "good, clean, and fair,"
Petrini has long sought to reveal the deep
connections between what we eat and the
health of not only our bodies but also our
economies and environment-as Time notes, he
"has changed the way we think about eating."

In her introduction to Manifestos on the
Future of Food and Seed
, world-renowned
physicist and environmental leader Vandana
("a burst of creative energy, an
intellectual power"--The Progressive) gives
this madness a name and frightening diagnosis
of her own: "Industrial food is cheap not
because it is efficient . . . but because it is
supported by subsidies and it externalizes
all costs--the wars, the diseases, the
environmental destruction, the cultural
decay, the social disintegration."

But are there alternatives? Yes, say the
5,000 farmers, traders, and activists who
gathered at Terra Madre to clearly and
convincingly lay out a guiding set of
principles to reverse perhaps the worst food
crisis in human history. Their analysis,
alongside contributions by Michael Pollan,
Prince Charles, the International Commission
on the Future of Food and Agriculture, and
more, is presented in Manifestos: a
pocket-sized and galvanizing collection that
grapples with these enormous questions,
daring to imagine a food system-a world-that
is sustainable, healthy, and ultimately, just.

As Jamey Lionette, who runs a small
independent sustainable food market in
Boston, writes, "With peak oil and climate
catastrophe looming, local and clean food
becomes more than just romanticized food
culture; it becomes essential." Plainly, if
we are to continue to eat, we must heed the
wisdom of these manifestos.

--from South End Press----

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?