We have more food now than at any other time in human history but can we really call all of it food?
Not talking the above-photo’d fruit & veggies but rather those rainbow-colored, flavor-injected items packed with ersatz and designed to distract us from the fakery. Look at our plates–are we eating food or phood?
What’s worse, even as we congratulate ourselves on the ability to roll out vast quantities of these low-priced items, the inefficient, misguided food leviathan wastes 40%* of what we grow. Then there’s the dazzling array of high-tech workarounds that keep the machinery spinning, often harming soil, water and wildlife in the process. And, of course, the juggernaut of advertising that flacks the phoods, building intractable loyalties to the nutritionally suspect while promoting a sense of normalcy to the deeply unnatural.
Welcome to Phoodville.
In a mere handful of centuries, we’ve arrived here from a pre-industrial world where people chronically lacked food to a world where people still lack food and others have too much. Or maybe just too much of the wrong kind?
This is the world of phood in 2015:
We have so much to eat and yet we’re still hungry.
We have so much to eat and so many of us are sick.
We have so much to eat and we’re not building, we’re burning.
We can do better. We need to do better. Let’s talk.
Join me @LoriFontanes as I listen to the conversation #NYTFFT @StoneBarns this week at the Food for Tomorrow conference.
*Source: National Resources Defense Council Issue Paper; August 2012; “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food From Farm to Fork to Landfill”; Dana Gunders, author
Copyright 2015, Lori Fontanes
A really important message Lori. Keep up the good work.
Lori – I am going to put a link to your piece in my blog this week as you’ve got me thinking – hope that is okay?
Of course! Please do! And thanks for sharing!!!
There’s a lot of food for thought here. (Sorry, couldn’t resist) I agree, we would be healthier, and more knowledgeable, if we grew more of what we eat ourselves, but it shouldn’t be taken to extremes as some people suggest.
I’m big on moderation, actually. 😉 And, you got it, knowledge/education/information is the key. Thanks for joining the conversation!
I have food allergies so I’m always reading ingredient lists. The random sh!t that gets thrown into ready-made meals and the like is awe inspiring (and not in a good way). Recently I found out the thickener in most soy milks is what’s used to keep ice off of airplane windows!
Another big problem is the producers using this that sound natural (like palm) that takes a huge toll on its ecosystem.
Thanks for sharing your story! You are so right that there are environmental impacts to what we’re doing with the present food system. BTW, my latest way of saying that is this: #AllPlatesOnePlanet. 🙂
I just read that for all that propaganda that the GMO’s etc have been created to feed the world the world is still as hungry. Americans may be even hungrier–the world sees us as gluttons not realizing that our food has been made addictive and deadly. Our bodies crave nutrients so we eat–and eat–never satisfied. How sad.
Very true! Have you read Michael Moss’ book, “Salt Sugar Fat”? Talks a lot about this sort of idea and how it all happened. The more people realize what’s going on, the better, I think. Thx for adding to the conversation!
Great post, Lori! We struggle to feed our kids (and ourselves) the good stuff. But dang it, it’s hard! Especially with concerns about organic vs non-organic, non-GMOs, crazy amounts of added sugar in EVERYTHING. And my daughter still tries to talk me into buying her Lunchables every time we go tot the grocery. The marketing is insidious. And so we continue to fight the good fight and do the best we can. But please ignore the Twinkie in my desk drawer…that’s for emergencies. 😉
I will ignore my Twinkie if you ignore my chocolate chips. 😉 But, yeah, it’s sooooo hard. I’ve just spent the last two days with a bunch of folks talking about nothing else. We just heard from the Secretary of Agriculture (before lunch yet–my stomach was growling!!!) and, man, it’s fraught and emotional and very high stakes. And yet we have to do something, a lot of things. Talking about it with other folks is one of those things. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts & frustrations. 🙂