I receive these fantastic email nutrialerts from NuGO and the US FDA/NCTR Division of Personalized Nutrition and Medicine. I must pass on today’s alert to everyone interested in the future of food production in our country and nutritional empowerment for the people.
Micheal Pollan (www.michaelpollan.com ) is the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley and has been active in writing about food and our current food production system – The Ominivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food (highlighted previously on this listserve). He is also a contributing writer to the NYTIMES magazine and Micheal Pollan really cares!!!
The following is taken directly from the alert:
In the article, Pollan makes the case that current U.S. (and other industrialized nations’) food production system is not sustainable primarily because of the energy cost and global warming. While many of his arguments are related those issues, he also focuses on the products of the system which are often energy dense but nutrient poor manufactured foods. Although any individual processed food may be seen as “healthy,” the nutritional content of a weekly food market basket may not be nutritionally balanced if it consists of mainly manufactured food products. A large amount of disparate data exists that can confirm that conclusion. H ealth agencies urge consumers to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but the reality is that processed foods make up the majority of foods eaten in many areas of the U.S. , and increasing the world. This is particularly true in lower socioeconomic areas of the U.S. and the world (see Gallagher’s project page at: http://www.marigallagher.com/projects/). Political and business decisions and reasons produced our food system and are cited in this article.
The basic case Pollan makes is compelling. What is noteworthy about this article is that Pollan proposes specific plans of action for many sectors related to the food production system. Not all of these ideas will be right or will work, but at least there is an outline to work on.
The following is taken from Pollan’s article in the NY Times:
There are many moving parts to the new food agenda I’m urging you to adopt, but the core idea could not be simpler: we need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine….To put the food system back on sunlight will require policies to change how things work at every link in the food chain: in the farm field, in the way food is processed and sold and even in the American kitchen and at the American dinner table. Yet the sun still shines down on our land every day, and photosynthesis can still work its wonders wherever it does. If any part of the modern economy can be freed from its dependence on oil and successfully resolarized, surely it is food.
(Pollen suggests the way to do this)
I. Resolarizing the American Farm…
II. Reregionalizing the Food System…
III. Rebuilding America’s Food Culture
…The president should throw his support behind a new Victory Garden movement, this one seeking “victory” over three critical challenges we face today: high food prices, poor diets and a sedentary population. Eating from this, the shortest food chain of all, offers anyone with a patch of land a way to reduce their fossil-fuel consumption and help fight climate change. (We should offer grants to cities to build allotment gardens for people without access to land.) Just as important, Victory Gardens offer a way to enlist Americans, in body as well as mind, in the work of feeding themselves and changing the food system — something more ennobling, surely, than merely asking them to shop a little differently…
Reforming the food system is not inherently a right-or-left issue: for every Whole Foods shopper with roots in the counterculture you can find a family of evangelicals intent on taking control of its family dinner and diet back from the fast-food industry — the culinary equivalent of home schooling. You should support hunting as a particularly sustainable way to eat meat — meat grown without any fossil fuels whatsoever. There is also a strong libertarian component to the sun-food agenda, which seeks to free small producers from the burden of government regulation in order to stoke rural innovation. And what is a higher “family value,” after all, than making time to sit down every night to a shared meal?…
Your sun-food agenda promises to win support across the aisle. It builds on America ’s agrarian past, but turns it toward a more sustainable, sophisticated future. It honors the work of American farmers and enlists them in three of the 21st century’s most urgent errands: to move into the post-oil era, to improve the health of the American people and to mitigate climate change. Indeed, it enlists all of us in this great cause by turning food consumers into part-time producers, reconnecting the American people with the American land and demonstrating that we need not choose between the welfare of our families and the health of the environment — that eating less oil and more sunlight will redound to the benefit of both.