The food industry plays politics just as well as any other industry. Food politics underlie all politics. There’s no industry more important to us or more fundamentally linked to our well-being and the future well-being of our children. Corporate control of the nation’s food system limits our choices and threatens our health. Over the last decade “food movements” have emerged. Industrialization of food production has social/environmental/public health/animal welfare/gastronomic costs, high costs. Programs that have stimulated activism include: school lunch reform; the campaign for animal rights and welfare; the campaign against genetically modified crops, the rise of organic and locally produced food; efforts to combat obesity and type 2 diabetes; “food sovereignty”, farm bill reform, food safety regulation, farmland preservation, student organizing about food issues on campuses, efforts to promote urban agriculture and ensure communities have access to healthy food, initiatives to create gardens and cooking classes in schools; farm worker rights, nutrition labeling; feedlot pollution, and regulating marketing messages and food ingredients – especially to kids.

Food for Thought

A recent article in Food and Wine talks about our current trend of political awareness and debate and some ways that the food industry is taking action and inspiring engagement. Here are some from the article I thought sounded interesting:

  • Potluck Nation Blog – Organizes dinners devoted to open communication and invites readers to do the same.
  • Coup – A New York City bar donates all profits to organizations like Planned Parenthood.
  • Julia Turshen – a cookbook author who donates a portion of sales  from her book Feed the Resistance to the ACLU. In Julia’s words, “Food is an incredibly approachable way to understand people and also to get involved. At the end of the day, food is about people, and so are politics.”

Projects like these are just a small sample of what individuals and organizations are doing to build bridges and inspire more food movement participants to take action where and how they can to ease the struggles for social and economic justice in the food industry. I love how these grassroots projects come together in ways that are unique to people’s talents and passions.