It’s nice to get some clear direction and inspiration about how we make food in our country more just, nutritious, and sustainable. Before we get there though, let’s take two quick looks at how difficult a job this really is.
We learned through Jason Best at Take Part that Big Food moguls (think Kellogg and Heinz) have recently invested $90 million into promoting frozen food. Freezer-stock sales are on the decline in the U.S., and these companies want to squeeze our wallets while they load us up with salt, sugar, and fat. While frozen veggies alone can be a decent alternative to the fresh stuff, Best explains that veggie-pushing is not the real intentional behind this campaign.
One big problem here is that food makers are trying to get you to conflate minimally processed frozen fruits and vegetables with, say, frozen lasagna. One bite of your average frozen entrée, though—all limp and mushy and oversalted—is probably enough for anyone to answer the question of whether frozen is as good as fresh. Unless you read the label, you could be consuming shocking amounts of sodium, fat, and various unpronounceable ingredients.”
We might expect this type of trickery in the grocery marketplace, but we can certainly expect better behavior from Congress, right? Ellyn Ferguson of Roll Call reports on the latest delay in the agriculture spending bill due to House and Senate Republicans still trying to provide schools with exemptions from providing their students with healthier options. It’s not that these folks don’t care about our children, per se, Ferguson explains. It’s more that there are some powerful folks who really benefit from federal tax dollars through school lunch contracts:
The K-12 food service industry generates $18 billion to $20 billion a year in business, with federal meal reimbursements accounting for about 60 percent of the money, according to a June report by the trade publication Food Management. That’s an educated guess, because the food service umbrella covers colleges and universities, restaurants and institutions. Even publicly traded companies provide few details.”
It’s quotations like these that make us want to give our whole political system a drastic overhaul. Luckily, Mary Beth Albright offers us her five-pronged solution for ending corporate greed and the subsequent political strife over our food system. Framed as “hot” issues to follow and study before this election season, they serve as a simple laundry list of ways in which we can help move our food system forward:
1. Allow states to require labeling of GMOs.
2. Ease regulatory barriers for small farmers.
3. Tax food that costs the system money.
4. Subsidize food that benefits the system.
5. Feed kids well and responsibly.
PHOTO: Getty Images
5 Ideas to Change the Food Network via The Plate - National Geographic