You probably don't know this about me, but I love food. I wouldn't call myself a 'foodie' because I like a variety of food that's rarely called food by the folks who call themselves foodies. I live in the Western US. I grew up in the West. I like a lot of different food.
One of the constants I remember growing up was feeling hungry. My mother believed in everything being equal. Thus my 5'6" sister had the same portions as I did at 5'10". My sister just older then me was severely obese when we were in elementary school and remained that way.
I however was hungry.
My love of food has led me to keep a backyard full of french intensive gardens and bees to pollinate them. It's also led me to an interest in Mark Bittman. You probably remember him from his Ted.com talk. (Well all right, you probably don't.) He's the New York Times food conversationalist and a man arrogant enough to believe he can put 'Everything' into one cookbook (or two, there's one for Vegetarianism). He's not a Chef. He's just a guy who likes food. You can see why I like him.
Earlier this month, he released his Food Manifesto for the Future. I wanted to share some of his key points. I think they are interesting, feasible, and doable.
A Food Manifesto for the Future:
In no particular order:
- End government subsidies to processed food.
- Begin subsidies to those who produce and sell actual food for direct consumption.
- Break up the U.S. Department of Agriculture and empower the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, the U.S.D.A. counts among its missions both expanding markets for agricultural products (like corn and soy!) and providing nutrition education. These goals are at odds with each other; you can’t sell garbage while telling people not to eat it, and we need an agency devoted to encouraging sane eating. Meanwhile, the F.D.A. must be given expanded powers to ensure the safety of our food supply. (Food-related deaths are far more common than those resulting from terrorism, yet the F.D.A.’s budget is about one-fifteenth that of Homeland Security.)
- Outlaw concentrated animal feeding operations and encourage the development of sustainable animal husbandry.
- Encourage and subsidize home cooking.
- Tax the marketing and sale of unhealthful foods.
- Reduce waste and encourage recycling. The environmental stress incurred by unabsorbed fertilizer cannot be overestimated, and has caused, for example, a 6,000-square-mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that is probably more damaging than the BP oil spill. And some estimates indicate that we waste half the food that’s grown. A careful look at ways to reduce waste and promote recycling is in order.
- Mandate truth in labeling Claudia here - You'd be amazed at what the label 'organic' doesn't mean. Most labeling is complete BS.
- Reinvest in research geared toward leading a global movement in sustainable agriculture, combining technology and tradition to create a new and meaningful Green Revolution.
They seem like great ideas to me. But first, we'd have to get the corporations out of congress long enough to have a conversation. Right now, our government is so caught up in who is red and who is blue, it's more like gang warfare than politics or conversation. But that's a whole other conversation.
What do you think of his manifesto? Feasible? Stupid? Possible? Impossible?