Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eating is a political act

(Image from

Before I start I'd like to say that I am not a food expert or a politician. I'm a food photographer who recently watched Food Inc ... and I have a sister who is a hippie and bit of a food activist. I like food & I enjoy eating. I, like many people/women/eaters, spend a good deal of time thinking about what I eat and how it will affect my body.

It is no deep secret that natural less processed foods tend to be healthier for our bodies. What IS less widely known is that we're presented processed unhealthy food partially because it's what we buy, but also because of food subsidies, policies, and big corporations. You don't have to be a political scientist to begin to understand the problem, and I have no interest in fully deconstructing it. (I dropped my dual major in political science to a minor mostly because I find politics depressing.) What I can take away from both my 'International Political Economy' class (even sounds depressing right?) and Food Inc is that we are more powerful than we know as consumers. If we buy it - they will produce it. If we demand other products we can affect change! The Story of Stonyfield Farms in Food Inc. is very inspiring and Gary (CEO aka CE-Yo) talks about this very idea.

I'll leave you with the 10 ways to change our food system suggested by 'Hungry for Change' -

Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).
Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.
Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.
Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.
Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.
Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.
Protect family farms; visit your local farmer's market.
Farmer's markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.
Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.
Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.
Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.
Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

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