Food, uh, for thought.

June 25th, 2007

Two months ago, the NYT published this fascinating Michael Pollan essay on the way that farm subsidies support our national obesity epidemic.

You Are What You Grow

The result? A food system awash in added sugars (derived from corn) and added fats (derived mainly from soy), as well as dirt-cheap meat and milk (derived from both). By comparison, the farm bill does almost nothing to support farmers growing fresh produce. A result of these policy choices is on stark display in your supermarket, where the real price of fruits and vegetables between 1985 and 2000 increased by nearly 40 percent while the real price of soft drinks (a k a liquid corn) declined by 23 percent. The reason the least healthful calories in the supermarket are the cheapest is that those are the ones the farm bill encourages farmers to grow.

The piece goes far beyond this. It’s sobering stuff, well worth reading and pondering. Makes me want to go out and eat a salad.

(Why yes, I am clearing the decks of a reading backlog in advance of my vacation. Why do you ask?)

One Response to “Food, uh, for thought.”

  1. What I’ve Learned So Far » Blog Archive » Friday links roundup. Says:

    […] –> A couple of weeks ago, I linked to a New York Times piece in which Michael Pollan talks about how our “farm” policy (which is really food policy) helps to foster the widespread obesity from which the nation suffers. The other day I got an e-mail from the estimable Dan Markovitz — he of the lean-management expertise — pointing to a post of his in the same vein: “The Obesity Epidemic, Part II”. Well worth reading. (Actually, just take that as a summary verdict for Dan’s blog in general.) […]

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