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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:19 AM

Hate Eating Corporate Food? Democracy Is the Best Recipe



Tara Lohan: There's no doubt we have a big problem with junk food and a lot of the issue comes down to marketing to kids, which you’ve written about in the book in great detail. But it seems like a much larger cultural problem then that.

Wenonah Hauter: I think it’s part of the dysfunction of society as people have forgotten how to cook. We want everyone to enjoy healthy food, not just small segments of society. We have to fix the policy things and then we have to fix the things in society that make it impossible for people to actually cook. That's why we can't fix our food system without fixing our democracy. People don't have time to cook because they work two jobs. They are not paid enough to purchase the healthy ingredients and the food system is not going to solve these problems. We have to have a political system ask why there is an ever increasing stratification and why they allow the media to set the agenda through advertising and the culture that we created today.

It's complex. There's no magic bullet. I'm dealing in Foodopoly with the food policy piece but that's just a slice of the pie. We also have to do something about these corporations benefitting from really the wrong values around food and the fact that 90% of the food budget of most Americans goes towards processed foods. We need to take away the economic incentive.

TL: When I first moved to California in 2006, we had three years of drought and now the Plains and the Midwest are experiencing quite a bit of drought. For all of our industrialization and “modernization” of our food supply, it seems incredibly vulnerable, especially considering the impacts of climate change and what we may be going through in the coming decades.

WH: There is no doubt that we are in for some shock in production. I think California with the snow pack decreasing is really in a very vulnerable place and in fact, the droughts in the Midwest, the loss of crops this year and even on the East Cost beyond Hurricane Sandy and all of the dramatic weather, you can see the weather patterns changing. I see this in my own life, having grown up on this farm. We used to have thunderstorms during the summer. We got a lot of rain. Now we go through long periods of drought. In fact, we would probably not have vegetables on our farm if we didn't have water to irrigate with. We have springs. You just couldn't grow anymore.

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