Politics and culture magazine The Nation releases its October 3 Food Issue with an A-list group of food politics celebrities. Diet for a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappé lays out somewhat of a State of the Food Union in her piece "The Food Movement: Its Power and Possibilities," in which she describes the changes that have happened since her blockbuster book came out in 1971. She discusses negative changes such as the staggering number of almost 1 billion hungry people. Lappé counterbalances these facts with more progressive moves like how small farmers are protecting seed varieties. In response, food movement heavyweights Raj Patel, Vandana Shiva, Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan chime in. For those already involved in food activism, the arguments are familiar (albeit well-written). For those just learning about the global food movement, The Nation offers a great jumping off point to learn how to save our food systems.
Patel, hunger expert and author of Stuffed and Starved, explains "Why Hunger Is Still With Us." He argues that, "For every White House organic garden, there’s an appointee to the US Trade Representative’s office from the pesticide industry. Sasha and Malia may be getting good grub, but the global South still gets stuck with chemicals."
Activist and Slow Food International Vice President Vandana Shiva, never one to sugarcoat her words, begins her piece, "Resisting the Corporate Theft of Seeds," by claiming, "We are in a food emergency." Schlosser, of Fast Food Nation fame, argues that "It's Not Just About Food" but also about aligning the food movement's issues with other similar groups.
Michael Pollan, the omnivore behind Omnivore's Dilemma, explains "How Change Is Going to Come in the Food System." Critics of Pollan's may go after his supposed elitist argument, but in this piece, he acknowledges the relatively small effect the food movement has had. "The marked split between the movement’s gains in the soft power of cultural influence and its comparative weakness in conventional political terms is faithfully mirrored in the White House," he writes. Pollan continues, "The food movement has discovered that persuading the media, and even the president, that you are right on the merits does not necessarily translate into change."
There's more to the issue, so take a look and see if you're aligned with many of the food movement's leaders.