Mark Bittman pens a food manifesto for the future, arguing for a laundry list of basic public policy changes to improve America's eating habits. Bittman's article is refreshingly succinct and clear.
For decades, Americans believed that we had the world’s healthiest and safest diet. We worried little about this diet’s effect on the environment or on the lives of the animals (or even the workers) it relies upon. Nor did we worry about its ability to endure — that is, its sustainability.
That didn’t mean all was well. And we’ve come to recognize that our diet is unhealthful and unsafe. Many food production workers labor in difficult, even deplorable, conditions, and animals are produced as if they were widgets. It would be hard to devise a more wasteful, damaging, unsustainable system.
Here are some ideas — frequently discussed, but sadly not yet implemented — that would make the growing, preparation and consumption of food healthier, saner, more productive, less damaging and more enduring.
Bittman's ideas range from ending subsidies for processed food to banning CAFOs and teaching kids about cooking. On their own, many of these prescriptions are widely agreed upon amongst foodies, but I think Bittman's article is quite effective at expressing a coherent vision of a comprehensive agenda for food reform. The recent food safety and child nutrition bills were great first steps, but we're still a long way away from sane food policy in this country.
This article cements Bittman's status in my mind as the food activist with the most crossover appeal to non-foodies. His clear writing style and non-ideological opinions on food policy are extremely approachable. He's also an engaging speaker, clear writer, and an excellent resource for recipes. This is the article to send to your Republican parents to get them to care about food.