‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants’

“Pollan has taken Wendell Berry’s memorable phrase “eating is an agricultural act” one step further. “It’s a political act as well,”.

A lot of people agree that this “alternative” food movement – organic farming, local food systems, sustainable agriculture, plastic free and more is the best way for a sustainable future.

A good diet is really pretty simple, avoid “edible foodlike substances.” Instead, just eat real food. “Not too much. Mostly plants. That is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

If people could see how their food is produced, they would change how they eat.

It’s only our ignorance of how our food is grown that permits this to go on. Most people, if they saw how the animals are raised and killed, would lose their appetite for that food.

The industry knows this. It works so hard not to label where the food comes from, how it’s made, and whether or not there are GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in it, because they know very well from their own research that people don’t want food grown that way.

There is less incentive for farmers to convert to organic because conventional prices are so high.

There are good environmental reasons to eat meat in a limited way.

There will be a lot of pressure and education to show that a heavy meat diet is a big contributor to climate change, and that there are many good reasons to eat less meat.

First, it’s fossil-fuel intensive. If you are feeding animals grain on feedlots you are growing that grain with fossil-fuel fertilizers and pesticides. You are moving that grain around the country to feedlots. You’re moving the meat around the country.

I really have a lot of faith that consumers can change things. I believe that consumers can decide to inflect their buying decisions with their moral and political values. Just let everyone know out and loud, have a voice.

The food industry is terrified of food scares and food fads, both of which can cost them billions overnight. So they’re actually more responsive than you would think.

It’s just a matter of consumers voting with their forks for things like reasonable organic veggies and producers hearing that market signal.

Individuals have a lot to do, but we also need public solutions.

70 percent of economic activity in this country is consumer — it’s our purchasing decisions. That is the economy. We are implicated in these problems, and we have to recognize that. It’s our lifestyles; it’s how we’ve organized our cities and the countryside. It’s the size of our houses and how we heat our houses. It’s all these things. This is global warming.

We can look at supranational institutions to create a new set of rules for this economy. But I don’t think that will happen in the absence of people discovering that they can change their lives.

I really believe in what Wendell Berry said in the ’70s — that the environmental crisis is a crisis of character. It’s really about how we live.

I have a lot of optimism. I see evidence that people are changing the way they consume.

One of the powerful things about the food issue is that people feel empowered by it. There are so many areas of our life where we feel powerless to change things, but your eating issues are really primal. You decide every day what you’re going to put in your body — and what you refuse to put in your body. That’s politics at its most basic.

Text based on – Eating as an agricultural and political act.

Suggested readings:

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued)

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

You can make the difference, think about the way you choose to shop, cook and eat!

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